Food shortage affects Namatanai secondary

The Namatanai Secondary School (NSS) in New Ireland Province could face a premature closure of its academic year due to acute shortage of food supplies.

The school’s principal, Leo Michael, made this known through a letter he wrote to senior executives of the Namatanai Advancement Limited (NAL) – the business arm of the Namatanai District Development Authority (NDDA) – asking for assistance to supply garden food through WFA Buying Point.

Michael said: “Due to non-payment of the Tuition Fee Free (TFF) component and provincial government not supplying rations, we request the supplement of garden food to sustain the messing while waiting for rations by the provincial government.”

The school only received the first quarter of the TFF funds at the beginning of this year and it is yet to receive the second quarter of the funds, which is long overdue.

Michael said the current government’s directions to direct the responsibility to the provincial government to provide rations to the school from the TFF was ineffectual, saying it was not a good approach in sustaining food rations for schools on time.

A similar situation is also faced by two high schools in the Namatanai district – Nasko High School, a remote school in Konoagil LLG and Tanir High School in Tanir LLG.

Meantime, Michael thanked WFA Buying Point operations manager, Sam Lakneke, on behalf of the local MP Walter Schnaubelt, for coming to the rescue of the school with the first batch of 140kg of garden produce on Monday.   

Lakneke said NAL is currently providing the school with 140kg of garden produce every day, which includes a supply of 100kg of kaukau, 20kg of pumpkin and 20kg of mixed vegetables, including greens and cabbages.

He said they will take up the exercise for one month with assistance from Namatanai MP Schnaubelt.

Schnaubelt said the supplies will be delivered daily to the school to ensure the food is fresh and secure prior to cooking.

“A monthly review will be conducted to ascertain students are benefiting and gauge whether supply is over or under its required consumption demand,” Schnaubelt stated.

“My office will meet the cost of food supply to NSS because NAL is still in its infancy stage and cannot afford to bear the cost, as it’s trying to grow and obviously due to the school having no access to funds to purchase these fresh produce.”

(WFA Buying Point operations manager Sam Lakneke, second from left, Namatanai Secondary School Principal Leo Michael, centre, with WFA Buying Point employees after the presentation of garden food at the school mess – Picture by Namatanai MP’s Media Unit)

Press release