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NARI delivers transformative solar rice mill machinery to communities

By: PSS January 13, 2023

Papua New Guinea – Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Julie Bishop and Honorable Vice-Minister Senator Concetta Ferrivantti–Wells, Minister for Development for the Pacific officially launched the Solar Rice Mill Project on 9 March 2017 in Lae, PNG in partnership with PIFON’s member–PNG Women in Agriculture (PNG WiA).

The “Solar Rice Mill Project” is a (DFAT) PNG Incentive fund co-funded by PNG National Agriculture Research Institute (NARI) and TRUKAI Rice Industries which is not only a major rice distributor in PNG but also a major private sector funder and sponsor of PNG WIA. The project is in support of women in solar rice milling in PNG with PNG WiA being the recipient of 80 solar rice mills with a value of K2.5 million (AU$2 million).

The equipment is built to specifications to support rural women in PNG who grow rice but cannot mill given there is no electricity, and solar power is the only alternative. Cassava, taro, banana, corn and sweet potato flour are also produced via the use of these solar mills.

The solar power energy produced now enables rural women in PNG to charge their mobile phones, have light at night, and even enjoy the luxury of using a fan and watching movies.

PIFON member, Papua New Guinea Women in Agriculture Development Foundation (PNG WiA) has also begun a program to promote the use of solar-powered agro-processing machines by its rural members. The machines being promoted serve a number of functions including rice polisher, corn huller, coconut scraper, hammer mill, and cassava grater.

With funding from the MTCP2 Programme, initial training was conducted for 34 participants on 19 April 2017 in Mutzing in the Markham Valley of the Morobe Province in PNG. The farmers involved in the training gained a greater understanding of the technology and how it can be utilised to reduce labour hours and increase food preservation options for rural families. #

About MTCP2

The Medium-Term Cooperation Program Phase 2 (MTCP2), a five-year capacity building program supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), and the European Union (EU), has been implemented in 19 countries across three sub-regions—Southeast Asia, South Asia, and the Pacific—engaging 1,544 sub-national farmers organizations (FOs) with a total membership of around 22 million farmers. The funding support (total budget of $ 5 million for the whole duration of the project across 19 countries) serves as a catalytic fund that will allow FOs to enhance their capacity to be effective channels of economic services to farmers. The program has contributed to the formation of the strong national platform of FOs with improved capacity to engage in policy processes and mobilize resources from mainstream agricultural development programs like extension services, credit, and pre and post-harvest facilities. The program also helped in transforming farmers’ associations into commodity-based cooperatives to strengthen the role of small-scale farmers within an inclusive and sustainable value-chain. The program is being implemented by the consortium Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA) and La Via Campesina (LVC).