Since returning to PNG, Melissa has established a village chicken farm at her family property in Markham Valley. She started with 50 chickens in May 2019 and now has over 300 beautiful breeding birds. Her flock consists of a local village/naked neck breed mix. She attributes her success to date with the high quality of a self-produced local feed mix, as well as the training of four staff members who have helped her troubleshoot problems and find solutions along the way. Recently, the farm has begun selling chickens to people in the surrounding area as well as to local restaurants in Lae.
Established with the support of her father, Melissa has also become the CEO of PRR Foundation Inc (PRR), a Non-Profit based in Lae, PNG. PRR seeks to ‘create an impact in rural communities in PNG, bridging them to development opportunities and claiming their place and space in all spheres of life through information, empowerment, skills development, values formation and providing the necessary resources and mentorship’. PRR is now working in partnership with Kyeema to promote village chicken keeping for improving the livelihoods and food security of people throughout Markham Valley. Melissa plans to conduct ongoing community training with the hope of reaching around 15 local families per month.
“Now knowing that I can help families improve their nutrition and income has really fulfilled my aspirations of helping my people be healthy and happy. I feel so lucky to be a Master Farmer in PNG as I am able to help many people better their lives through the life skills of coral gardening and village chicken rearing. I am forever grateful for my trainers and Kyeema for the wisdom they have imparted to me to help my people back home.”
Kyeema acknowledges the support of the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) for this project.