Archive for December, 2012

Husband and wife team Mere and Igu Yawane have been teaching women in the Eastern Highlands how to make this delicious bread from cassava.

Cassava flour and bread

Cassava flour and bread

Cassava processor to produce the flour

Cassava processor to produce the flour

Not only is the bread more tasty than the one at the shop, it is a source of food that can be relied upon during times of drought. And, it’s a money-maker – Mere sells her own cassava loaves direct to customers for K6!

Cassava bread

Cassava bread

Mere explained the couple’s motivation for helping train women in this enterprise: “Things won’t always be good every year, we go through hard times too,” she said.

“At these times – insects eat the sweet potatoes, rice doesn’t grow well – we must store something. We can make this flour in readiness for these times of need. And use it to feed your family at that time.”

Mere Yawane, food security trainer and entrepreneur

Mere Yawane, food security trainer and entrepreneur

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Savé PNG's Jennifer Waiko speaking at the Slow Foods festival in Italy last month

Savé PNG’s Jennifer Waiko speaking at the Slow Foods festival in Italy last month

PNG’s farmers and traditional cuisine took centre stage at one of the world’s major food events last month.

Markham Valley-based non-profit Savé PNG spoke at the Slow Foods (‘Salone del Gusto’) festival in Torino, Italy.

At the event, Savé PNG director Jennifer Waiko was invited to speak on a conference about ‘Indigenous Peoples and Local Food Sovereignty: A struggle for self determination’, where she said the farmers who are severely neglected by the PNG government hold the key to PNG’s economic independence.

“The majority of Papua New Guineas have is the ability to earn a livelihood from the land,” Waiko said. “We have the skills, but we need the training and market opportunities to gain financial independence.

“Political decisions in Papua New Guinea are based on money: that is, on short term aspirations. Make the people financially independent and they will make more choices based on long term aspirations.”

Savé PNG is working to inspire Papua New Guineans to embrace their cultural identity and protect their traditional foodways. They believe that celebrating traditional food is the first step towards community resiliency in the face of health, climate and cultural threats in PNG.

They are currently working on a educational video series called “Cafe Niugini” which explores indigenous cuisines and cultures of Papua New Guinea.

Slow Food is a global movement that aims to “counter the rise of fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions, and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world.” At this year’s four-day festival, there were 950 food exhibitors from 130 countries.

Savé PNG’s Bao Waiko is hopeful PNG farmers will be represented at the 2014 Slow Food festival.

“Salone is the perfect opportunity for small local PNG food groups working on agricultural products such as coffee, chocolatecoconut oil, honey, dried fruits and other locally grown and processed products to gain international exposure and recognition”, Bao said.

If you would like to know more about Slow Food go to www.slowfood.com. Read more about Save PNG here or contact Jennifer and Bao at savepng@gmail.com.

Tomato growers at theSlow Food Festival in Italy

Tomato growers at theSlow Food Festival in Italy

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Damaris Loie and her husband Tella have worked together for over 20 years making honey in the frontyard of their home in Logofate, in Ungai-Bena District.

The couple have customers for their delicious, 100% organic honey from around the Highlands, but aren’t keeping their specialised knowledge to themselves: they’re trying to train other women in the Eastern Highlands, so they can help ‘kamapim’ others. “They will be happy, and you will be happy too,” Damaris said.

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Tella loves working with his wife, and says more PNG men could benefit from doing the same.”Working in partnership with women is very good,” he said. “We’re a team, and it makes our work much easier. Also, women are very good managers, especially in terms of finance.

“If PNG men have this mentality where they’re only thinking of themselves, it won’t work as well. But if we can team up and apply the wisdom of women – their management skills, their way of looking after their families and putting food on the table – if we can incorporate this attitude into our businesses, I think communities in PNG will be better off.”

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Sesame John is a flower-gardener in Kabiufa, Goroka. Every week she sells flowers, fetching up to K200 per pot! She also sells large amounts for events and celebrations, and regularly hires out her gorgeous posies to Goroka University for graduation ceremonies. Her beautiful garden contains literally thousands of kina in flowers.

Having worked profitably in floriculture for more than 20 years, Sesame is a firm believer in reaping what you sow. “We have our land, so we must work,” she told us. “Moni stap long graun (‘money is inside our land’). If we work hard, we make money. If we are lazy, and wait for someone else, it will be hard for us to survive.
“You must work, you must sweat. And you will reap the rewards of your hard work.”
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