The origins of PNG Women in Agriculture Development Foundation (PNGWiADF) go back to year 2000 when the National Agriculture Research Institute of PNG (NARI), a major player in the development of agriculture in the country started an initiative to capture and promote the “Voices of Women in the Food Chain”. The programme sought women’s views about the constraints and issues they faced as farmers and as the country’s major food producers. NARI also wanted women to learn about the food chain, about the services it provides to smallholder farmers, and to provide an opportunity for women farmers to form networks.
The initiative resulted in the role of women in farming being officially recognized. It also led to the formation of WiADF to be a “voice for women to be recognized as equal partners in Agriculture, promoting partnership and encouraging innovation by women for empowerment and development”. The significance of WiADF as a force for development may be seen from the fact that women play a leading role in agriculture in a country where 85% of the rural population depend on agriculture and fisheries for their livelihood.
WiADF’s core business falls under two broad categories: firstly to provide effective advocacy for women to be recognized as equal partners in all facets of development including agriculture, and secondly, to provide an enabling platform that promotes innovation and the advancement of the role of women in agriculture for development. This is achieved through women mobilization into farmer groups working in partnership with government ministries, national and international organizations, donor agencies, the private sector and individuals to implement government’s strategic plans for agriculture in development.
Membership at WiADF is available through three membership categories; group, associate and corporate. At present, some 20,000 individual women farmers are affiliated to WiADF through 128 urban and rural based farmer groups spread through all of PNG’s 20 provinces. Some 42 organizations and individuals are affiliated as associate members while 32 private sector interests and companies are affiliated as corporate members. In spite of its growth since established, WiADF’s current members represents some 30-35% of PNG’s women farmers.
In PNG, WiADF has 123 registered groups of a maximum of 15 – 20 members in the group, 4 Provincial groups, 7 Co-operative Societies, 3 International group members, 7 Corporate members, 18 Individual members and 23 Live memberships.
PNG WiADF are in partnership with Australia (Australian Women in Agriculture), Solomons (Solomon Islands Women in Agriculture) and Vanuatu (Vanuatu Women in Agriculture).
The members of WiADF are engaged in virtually all forms of primary production including cottage styled processing. Horticulture, floriculture, livestock rearing, beekeeping, aquaculture, fishing, agro-forestry and eco-tourism are among the major economic activities undertaken for food security reasons and for income generation.
The WiADF secretariat itself as its current strategic plan states has special focus on the creation of an enabling environment in agriculture for development for its members. And it does so by providing a voice for women both at government policy level and in relation to other stakeholders in the private sector and the community which can work in partnership with WiADF. In this regard, strong partnerships have been forged with knowledge providers and training institutions such as NARI, with government ministries, (Department of Agriculture and land – DAL) with marketing agencies and input suppliers in the private sector, while work continues on securing access to finance for women.
In the circumstances, information management and dissemination, organizational capacity building and training, networking and partnerships and advocacy are among core activities and functions WiADF provides for its members.
For more information, visit the PNG WiA website