Training farmers to treat farming like a business in Papua New Guinea – Papua New Guinea
UNCDF, as part of EU-STREIT PNG, provided farmers with basic financial literacy skills with a focus on savings to make them understand that farming is a sustainable business and viable that can support their livelihoods..
Wewak, Papua New Guinea – Appreciating agriculture as a sustainable and viable business practice is the message of PNG Agbook of PNG Agriculture Company, a UNCDF partner in the EU-funded STREIT PNG Joint Programme. PNG Agbook, in collaboration with the PNG Cocoa Board, organized two rounds of training for rural farmers in the Sepik region of Papua New Guinea.
A total of 23 farmers representing farmer groups and agribusinesses in the provinces of Sandaun and East Sepik enthusiastically participated in the trainings held recently over a two-week period at the PNG Cocoa Board nursery site in Hawain. , in the district of Wewak, in the province of East Sepik.
Facilitating the sessions was the Owner and Managing Director of PNG Agbook Company, Mrs. Nicole Isifu, a committed young woman inspired to challenge existing farming practices and stimulate more active youth participation in agriculture – as young people. as entrepreneurs rather than as part-time workers and blue-collar workers. .
The first module focused on ‘financial literacy’, while the second session focused on ‘farming as a business’. Two participant manuals containing simple instructions on the topics covered in the sessions were also given to participants to take home and read at their own pace. Farming as a Business Handbook contains topics such as money basics, financial health, saving, budgeting, and borrowing. While the Farm Business Plan Booklet contains topics such as Farm Production Plan, Market Plan, Farm Business Profitability and Risk Management.
“While farming provides a means of meeting household subsistence needs, the rationale is to add value to this practice which needs to be business-like and this is where financial literacy knowledge and agricultural management skills are crucial and necessary for rural communities to realize the value of agriculture for improved income and sustainable participation and livelihood,” explained the coordinator of the United Nations-funded STREIT joint program EU, Dr. Xuebing Sun.
Participants also benefited from the presence of three other UNCDF partner financial institutions under the EU-funded STREIT programme. MiBank, WMBL (Mama Bank) and Cellmoni (Digicel) were invited to give special presentations to farmers on their savings needs, loan eligibility and the different products and services available for the three value chains.
Farmers participated as trainers of trainers and were expected to return to their clusters/groups to train other members, including youth and women, so that this important knowledge to appreciate and practice farming as a business be transmitted to others for a collective change of mentality. by everyone in rural communities.
For the participants, the training content was excellent and relevant to their domestic and agricultural needs where they can easily implement in their local areas. “We didn’t know how to save money from the bank, so if needed we can apply for small loans. If this training had taken place earlier, I think PNG would have changed a lot,” said Xavier Kapia, a single farmer with Mupa Cocoa Farming Group from Angoram District, East Sepik. “When I have a family, my children should not face the challenge of not completing their education just because of tuition issues. I will start saving now,” added Kapia who is still enjoying a young life.
The training has also benefited farmer groups to operate as a business. “With these financial literacy skills, we can now prepare the appropriate documents as one of the requirements for lenders to access small loans. My cadres are village boys, so I can go back and train them,” said Jimmy Makain, managing director of Wape Agriculture Marketing Group in Lumi district of Sandaun province. The group has 56 clusters comprising more than 1300 member farmers, including youth and women from LLGs in Wape East and West.
UNCDF’s partner in the EU-STREIT PNG program, MiBank, opened 22 new accounts from this meeting, not only from participants, but also from locals living near the training area.
UNCDF, within the framework of EU-STREIT PNG and in collaboration with local partners, supports the implementation of activities related to access to finance, rural banking services and cashless banking systems. The program also supports beneficiaries’ financial literacy and an improved business environment.
PNG EU-STREIT, implemented as a joint UN program (FAO as lead agency and ILO, ITU, UNCDF and UNDP as implementing partners ), is the largest grant-funded program from the European Union in the country and the Pacific region. , which focuses on increasing the sustainable and inclusive economic development of rural areas by increasing economic returns and opportunities in the cocoa, vanilla and fisheries value chains and by strengthening and improving the effectiveness of enablers of the value chain, including the business environment and by supporting sustainable and climate-resilient transport and energy infrastructure development.
International Reporting and Communications Manager, EU-STREIT PNG Program led by FAO,