A new breed of farmer in PNG – kickstarting village chicken rearing and coral reef gardening (restoration) for their communities

In September we kicked off the training component of Kyeema’s latest project ‘Food security and income for villages in PNG through village chicken rearing and reef restoration’ together with our new partner Hiri Coral. Five Master Farmers from Papua New Guinea flew to Fiji for four action-packed weeks to learn from our partner organisations Corals for Conservation and Sustainable Environmental Livelihoods for the Future. Participants learnt about coral reef restoration, permaculture, participatory community decision making and improved village chicken keeping.

The group was kindly hosted by Plantation Island Resort for their first week where they learnt various coral reef restoration techniques and worked with other Pacific Islanders from Samoa, New Caledonia and Fiji to establish a brand new coral nursery of bleaching resistant, hot water adapted corals – the Greta Thunberg Nursery. The group also upgraded existing coral nurseries and learnt about coral predators and the importance of community involvement.

Back at the Teitei Farm, our Master Farmers were trained in permaculture practices and developed plans for their own land. They also learnt strategies in effectively engaging and working with their community for when they return home. Their final week was devoted to chickens where the group learnt how to establish their own breeding flock, developing quality feed with local sources, chicken housing, incubating effectively and the importance of good biosecurity practices.

This training is part of our pilot project in PNG where our Master Farmers will work with their local communities to introduce island-adapted village chickens, reducing pressure on coastal fisheries and empowering women, and restore declining coastal fish habitat and introduce no-take fishing areas. Overall the group had a wonderful time learning new concepts and sharing their own. They have built lifelong friendships with their Pacific Islander counterparts and are excited for the next phase of the project.

We are excited to be partnering for the first time with Hiri Coral on this project and acknowledge the funding support of the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).