Barrick (Niugini) Limited (BNL), in its efforts to continue promoting food security within the mine communities, has introduced Agrikids, which is coordinated by its community development section.
Agrikids is a component of BNL’s Food Security Program initiated in 2010, which aims to prepare local communities to sustain their livelihood after mine closure, through agriculture.
On 29 August, the community development section conducted training on compost with students of the Aumbi Elementary School, a pilot school for the Agrikids program.
Compost training is an improved farming method which PJV demonstrates to local communities within the valley to increase the soil fertility for higher and quality crop yields.
PJV community development senior officer, Peter Tumun, said agriculture is a sustainable venture and it is important that relevant agricultural skills are delivered to young children at an early age when they are active in learning.
“With Agrikids, we want to teach and pass on the agriculture skills to children while they are in school so they can grow up with knowledge and skills about agriculture.
“Some of the children will make it to tertiary institutions and find jobs but for those who might not make it further, they can be able to utilise such skills and earn a living,” Tumun said.
Teacher-in-charge David Isara and school chairman, Pastor Wanpis Kawi, were both grateful that such vital skills were being promoted to the younger population.
“I’ve been teaching for 16 years but I’ve never seen such training before. I am happy that such activity is being taught here at the elementary school.
“If the same skills are being taught to schools throughout the valley, the children will be able to prepare themselves for the future,” Isara said.
PJV will also assist the Aumbi Elementary School with building materials for a temporary nursery (tarps & shade cloth), seedling trays, blue drums and seeds to start off with.
The community development team will make regular visits and provide technical advice and support as it moves to engage other elementary schools within the Special Mine Lease (SML) communities.
(Tumun showing the students the plant materials used to make compost)