Helping Farmers from the Ground Up

29 February 2016

An unkind climate and poor soil fertility can be a farmer’s worst enemy. In the Rigo district of Papua New Guinea, these conditions leave local vegetable farmers struggling to grow quality, competitive produce for market using traditional farming methods.

But for some Rigo farmers, access to commercial training has given them the modern farming techniques needed to grow a sustainable supply of vegetables and, most importantly, earn a living.

Partnering to make a difference

The Papua New Guinea commercial farming training project is funded by the Australian Government in partnership with The Salvation Army through the Church Partnership Program (CPP). The CPP seeks to help institutions commit to community development.

Reaping the harvest

For Samuel Iga Tau, the Vegetable Farming Skills training freed him from the stress of supporting his three children.

“Before the project, many farmers were unable to support their family or send their children to school,” he says. “Now many local farmers are beginning to see good benefits and an increase in their monthly sales of vegetable crops.”

In addition to learning how to farm crops such as watermelon, tomatoes and cabbage, Samuel gained skills in carpentry and leadership, enabling him to establish a proper nursery. With this extra income, Samuel was able to send his children to school.

Offshoots to training

The farming project trained and equipped 25 farmers in growing a range of crops suitable to the Rigo climate. Seventeen cooperative groups were also established, allowing trained farmers to share and connect with others.

Samuel is the chairman of his local farmers’ cooperative group, which boasts around 15 members. Numbers are increasing as the success of the farmers has encouraged others to join and train. “If I can achieve, others can achieve also,” says Samuel.

Pride in work

The profits from his vegetable farm have allowed Samuel to purchase a truck. “I will now transport my produce straight to the markets, rather than walking up to 20 kilometres to catch a vehicle to the market. This gives me easy access to move around,” he says.

But, most of all, the farming education has given Samuel a sense of purpose and pride in his work. “I am now a happy man,” he says.

The Salvation Army continues to support farmers all over the world – but we need your help! Purchase a Farmer Start-Up Kit from Salvos Gifts, or donate now, to give farmers the equipment and training they need to make a sustainable living.

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