Featured Islands News

Meteselen Rice Farming Project

Located North of Kavieng on the Island of New Hanover is Meteselen. It takes two hours by speed boat to get there.

An isolated part of New Ireland, the people there often have to travel long and expensive boat trips to access basic services. Even the simple pleasures like rice, milo and coffee have often been hard to come by.

But that’s all about to change thanks to a local called Baslogo Silaubara. Silaubara undertook specialized agriculture training in East New Britain where he learned how to cultivate rice and downstream commodities like Cacao, Coffee and Cassava.

Before long he was back on New Hanover and teaching his people how to cultivate rice and process Cacao, Coffee and Cassava.

Freshly milled rice

“Now my people don’t have to travel long distances to look for rice, milo or coffee, we can make it ourselves now,” said Silaubara.

To mark this milestone achievement a special launching ceremony was held on Thursday 11th of November.  Present to witness the occasion was New Ireland Governor Sir Julius Chan, Deputy Governor and Chairman for Natural Resources Sammy Missen, Chairperson assisting the Governor in Finance Misbil Nelson, Education CEO Apelis Benson and special Guests, Veteran Broadcast Journalist John Eggins with EMTV News Director Sincha Dimara and Cameraman Allan Terry.

With the area also being a trouble zone with inter -group fighting resulting in many lives lost, Sir Julius Chan was encouraged to learn that the locals had now decided to re-direct their energy to something more worthwhile like rice cultivation and other Agriculture projects.

“I congratulate you all for your bravery to take back Lavongai and cement lasting peace by reintroducing self-reliance and autonomy in Agriculture and the cash economy. You must make New Hanover great again, “said Sir J.

Fresh produced of cocoa powders and chocolate

To encourage the farmers the New Ireland Government through its Division of Primary Industries assisted the Lerina farming association with two rice mills.

“Agriculture is our backbone and with today’s challenges like climate change food security is an issue we need to address. We want to work with you so that you can help yourselves. The extra you have, you can sell to others,” said Director DPI Gideon Bogosia.

It was impressive to note up to six, 60kg bags of rice displayed at the front of the stage before the ribbon cutting ceremony which also saw a rice milling demonstration using the new mill.

A close to 20 minute walk from the main village brings you to the first 2 hectare rice plot owned by farmer Salatiel Suirule. He was very happy to show off his well nurtured rice plot.

There are at least 20 other rice plots scattered throughout the wards.

Local and CEO for Education Apelis Benson also encouraged the locals to take education seriously and to uphold the Malagan and New Ireland Declarations as a  guide to move New Ireland forward.

The visitors were also able to taste the cooked rice, with Veteran Journalist John Eggins giving his vote of confidence about how great the rice tasted.

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