EU Delegation visits the STREIT PNG Programme farmers and families

A representative from the European Union Delegation to Papua New Guinea visited East Sepik Province on Tuesday 6 October to meet farmers and families benefiting from the EU co-funded project entitled “Support to Rural Entrepreneurship, Investment and Trad

“Children are the future of the country, of the community, so we have to take care of our children, give them a good education, help them grow up in peace and with joy. I encourage all of you to embrace the opportunities which the project brings to you. With this project, we want to help you increase your income through farming and better value chains, to leave poverty behind and improve your standards of living, health and education,” said Mr. Rene Mally, First Counsellor and Head of Cooperation, European Union in PNG.
“The STREIT Programme is here to work through you and for you and for the future generations" Mr. Mally added.
The EU Head of Cooperation was sharing with farmers and their families at Mundangai village in the Turubu Rural LLG of Wewak District, while observing a Vanilla Cultivation, Husbandry and Processing Training conducted by STREIT PNG in collaboration with Provincial Department of Agriculture and Livestock.
Accompanying the First Counsellor was Ambassador of France to Papua New Guinea His Excellency Mr. Philippe Janvier-Kamiyama and Government of New Caledonia Representative Mr. Alexandre Lafargue. “France is with you and beside you to develop this country. Our support is channelled through the European Union and for us it is very special to come and meet you. We’re happy to be on ground to see what you can do to develop yourselves, your village, district and province,” says French Ambassador His Excellency Mr. Philippe Janvier-Kamiyama.
The delegation also visited a Cocoa rehabilitation site at Bougumatai village, Dagua LLG; and a fish market at Wewak town. The visit to Bougumatai village was to see old cocoa trees being replaced by Cocoa Pod Borer (CPB) tolerant seedlings. Among the recipients of these cloned seedlings were 13 widows and their families. The visitors saw rehabilitation of their cocoa blocks supported by STREIT PNG working in close collaboration with provincial DAL and Cocoa Board. 
Farmers, including women, attended cocoa propagation training organised by STREIT PNG and learned different propagation techniques, and acquired skills to assess and rehabilitate aging cocoa trees with CPB tolerant clones.  
In the afternoon the delegation interacted with women at Wei Camp settlement area who sell their fish at Kreer Fresh Fish Market in Wewak town. The STREIT programme conducted a rapid assessment on COVID-19 impacts among the fishing communities located in Wewak coastal area. It was found that due to decrease in daily customers, the unsold fish has to be stored for days under poor conditions with no cold storage facility available which led to significant losses in income. As a coping mechanism the STREIT PNG presented the fish folks with cooler boxes (Esky) to preserve fish, increase shelf-life and provide better opportunities for fish enterprises. 
“Every long journey starts with a step. STREIT PNG is a journey we will do together. We hope this support will help to increase the volume of fish you sell to earn more money to improve your livelihood" said Mr. Rene Mally, First Counsellor and Head of Cooperation, European Union in PNG.
It was a happy moment for the mothers who were not able to afford an Esky with their little earnings. STREIT PNG is supporting women and youth to benefit from this value chain programme with improvement to the enabling environment like roads and infrastructure, energy, telecommunications and financial services like banking to sustain their livelihoods through improved earnings.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is leading the United Nations support in implementing STREIT in 10 districts of East and West Sepik Provinces. It is the largest EU funded programme in the Pacific with a specific focus on women, youth and climate change.