More than 100 rice farmers in Sapuka village, South Fly District of Western Province have embarked on remarkable progress towards food security with the rapid growth of rice farming.
Sapuka villagers have embraced agriculture with great enthusiasm and are eager to secure their livelihoods through this activity.
On May 24th this year, the community proudly bore witness to the official launch of a food security program, aimed at empowering people to cultivate rice and drought tolerant crops at the village level.
The farmers have been producing milled rice at the Community Seed Bank Centre (CSBC) since November 2022.
Igu Kisua, a community representative expressed the villager’s shift in focus from hunting and gathering to agriculture.
He said, “The villagers used to rely on the forest for sustenance, but with the advent of rice farming, their lives have been transformed.”
Sapuka village has already yielded an impressive 1.5 tonnes of rice this year.
The locally produced rice has not only met the needs of the village, but it has also contributed to feeding nearby villages on the Fly River.
However, Kisua highlighted a persistent challenge faced by the farmers-the limited capacity of the milling equipment resulting in delays.
He emphasized the urgent need for a larger and more robust milling machine and emphasized that downstream processing plays a pivotal role motivating farmers.
During the launch, John Kewa, Executive Manager of Fresh Produce Development Agency (FPDA), praised the farmers’ achievements, acknowledging the contribution of farming to improve livelihoods.
Kewa also expressed his anticipation to support food security through a collaborative partnership with the Ok Tedi Development Foundation (OTDF) in Kiunga.
“We are actively working towards deploying our officers to Sapuka village this year to provide technical support on the ground.”
Meanwhile, OTDF’s Chief Executive Officer Havini Vira conveyed his heartfelt appreciation to the Sapuka community for taking ownership of the food security program which would be rolled out across Western Province.
He emphasized the significance of such community-driven initiatives as a pathway to sustainable community development.
As rice farming trade continues to blossom in Sapuka village, the future looks promising for the community who are determined to improve their livelihoods.
With ongoing support from the OTDF, FPDA and various stakeholders, Sapuka’s remarkable journey stands as an inspiring example for other communities within the province.