by Bethanie Harriman – EM TV News, Lae
People in Kabwum’s Komba LLG are struggling to plant kaukau- sweet potato, Taro and cassava as rains arrive and the food crops decay in the ground.
Relief supplies was distributed in early September, a can of tin fish and three packets of rice per family.
Sikam village sits three kilometres from konge airstrip below a valley.
In the last three weeks as the rains came, the Cassava, taro and sweet potato are rotting in the ground with the arrival of the recent rainfall.
Melanhu was in his garden when he uprooted a cassava plant to show that the starch contained root was rotting away and has become unfit for consumption.
“What will I eat, I am worried, but I have to continue to eat this,” he said.
There is a food shortage. People are eating budding taro plants that are normally used as seedlings.
Those who work at their garden wait for the best because their crops aren’t yielding. There is an increase in pests and crop disease.
Paka Gamba set among what he collected, the budding part of a taro that he plans to cook in a pot and it.
“We don’t eat this part, it is the mother of the plant, but now we are forced to,” he said.
The last lot of relief supplies that were sent was in September. Each household received 3 packets of rice and a tin of fish. Since then, there has been no more.
There has been no awareness on early maturing crops that can greatly ease the drought burden.