FAO-led EU-STREIT PNG Programme promotes ‘economic independence through agriculture’ among rural youth populations
27 September 2021
The EU-STREIT PNG partners for additional agriculture programme.
The EU-STREIT PNG partners with local educational bodies to mainstream gender and youth perspectives into the cocoa, vanilla and fisheries value chains among future generations of Papua New Guinea.
Wewak, ESP – In a bid to empower the females and youths along all nodes of agricultural value chains, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) under the EU-STREIT Programme in Papua New Guinea partnered with a local educational institution to promote and advocate for embracing agriculture as a promising profession by the rural females and youths.
As part of its broad-based partnership with local stakeholders, FAO collaborated with the Bishop Leo Secondary School during a 2-day cultural event, held on the occasion of PNG independence, to mainstream gender perspectives and youth inclusion in agri-food value chains and to demonstrate how using efficient knowledge and skills in agriculture can result in quantity and quality production.
Officiating on the first day of the event on behalf of the FAO-led EU-STREIT Programme, Ms Patu Shang, the FAO Gender and Youth Inclusion Specialist, explained to the attending pupils the importance of mainstreaming gender perspectives and youth inclusion in this rural agriculture development programme.
“25% of the PNG’s gross domestic product (GDP) comes from agriculture. We can increase this contribution by encouraging the youth, who make up 60% or 7.3 million of the population, to take part in agriculture. This is the focus of the EU-STREIT Programme in Papua New Guinea to ensure agriculture is for everybody, including the poor, the parents and the youth,” said Ms Patu.
To mark this occasion, demonstrations were carried out by EU-STREIT PNG officers on cocoa bud grafting, vanilla pollination and fish feed formulation, which attracted many enthusiastic students.
“I learned something here today; I learned that one successful pollination can give rise to more than one vanilla bean. My mum and dad are vanilla farmers so, I can pass on the knowledge to my parents on our vanilla garden,” said Grace, a Grade 11 female student.
The second day was marked by colourful displays of traditional costumes and dances and songs typifying the customs and traditions from the different districts of the provinces of Papua New Guinea. The participants also witnessed the presentation of a grass cutter and knapsack sprayer pump by EU-STREIT PNG to male and female students who were singled out as the top-performing Grade 12 pupils in some agriculture related subects.
“The purpose of this academic award was to encourage students and youth who are the future of this country to embrace agriculture as a profession. Agriculture is not only for the poor and the old parents but equally for the youth because they are the future, and agriculture is the backbone of the PNG economy, especially in the rural area,” explained Ms Shang.
In his speech at the event, the Governor of East Sepik Province, Mr Allan Bird, also urged the students to take the lead in agriculture in their communities.
Highlighting the FAO contribution to the event, the Governor said: “I want you to do something better in your life. The FAO team has demonstrated to you how to do cocoa budding, and I’m sure you have learned something new that can help better your community.”
The EU-STREIT PNG, being implemented as a UN joint Programme (FAO as leading agency, and ILO, ITU, UNCDF and UNDP as implementing partners), is the largest grant-funded Programme of the European Union in the country and the Pacific region, which focuses on increasing sustainable and inclusive economic development of rural areas through Increasing the economic returns and opportunities from cocoa, vanilla and fishery value chains and strengthening and improving the efficiency of value chain enablers including the business environment and supporting sustainable, climate-resilient transport and energy infrastructure development.”
International Reporting and Communication Specialist, the FAO-led EU-STREIT PNG Programme, Amir.Khaleghiyan@fao.org
UN entities involved in this initiative
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations