The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is funding PiCCA and the Hako Women’s Collective in Bougainville to establish an agricultural program, providing reliable and nutritious food for vulnerable people.

HWC President, Mrs Dorcas Gano said “We are seeing food shortages, poor nutrition and malnourishment as the population grows and our traditional methods of farming are not keeping pace.”

The $35,000 grant, plus $7,000 of cash and in-kind support from PiCCA, will be used to train people in better farming methods and increase the variety and volume of food grown locally.

The first groups to benefit from the training will be families who are caring for someone with a disability, women-headed households and young vulnerable people. Part of the funding will help these participants to establish their own small micro-businesses, so they can earn money from selling any surplus food they grow.

“A special aspect of this grant is that it is empowering for women, reducing their burden of labour and increasing their participation in the local economy,” says Dorcas.

The aid funding will also help the Hako Women’s Collective to set up a small rice mill as a social enterprise. The project will start in January and be completed by December 2019.