Better empowerment for women in PNG
Lala Kembai is a contracted farmer to Nauti Kuembu Winima (NKW), a local landowner company operating out of the Bulolo District in Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea. She grows different vegetables and supplies to NKW as her means of generating income to cater for her children’s school fees and other household needs.
Lala grows original lettuce, aibika, fancy lettuce, pumpkin, French beans, Chinese cabbage, green girl, green boy (hybrid cabbages) and baby choi.
With rising costs of living, Lala has raised concerns about the low offer prices for her vegetables and hopes that NKW can raise prices so that she and the other farmers can be better remunerated for their produce.
Challenges along the way
Lala has experienced many challenges as a farmer such as market access, logistics, volatile prices of vegetables by buyers or contractors, and the lack of quality and value chain training for farmers, and hopes that these concerns may be tended to by the relevant authorities.
At the same time, there are multiple benefits for farmers like Lala to work together with NKW. Additional support provided can increase production at a farm level and facilitate coordination between demand and supply. This ensures farmers are supported, nothing goes to waste, and everyone stays happy.
An additional area for improvement to ensure the turnaround time for payment is improved so that farmers can continue to supply as per demand.
A strong work ethic will help women in agriculture to excel
Lala believes in hard work and would like to see other women excel in the agriculture industry with greater governmental support. While her SME training was satisfactory, there was still a challenge for farmers to pay their dues. “We don’t earn big money, and where can we get the money for equity and deposit in the bank?”
She would like to see women work on their land.
“Women must not depend on their husbands alone. We must work on our land as the bible says, and God will bless us.”
For more on women farmers in PNG, read Gertrude's story.