A group of farmers hailing from the Eastern Highlands of Papua New Guinea, doing what they can to live off the land. That’s certainly not an uncommon thing to hear when referring to Papua New Guinea, which according to the United Nations Development Program sees 75 per cent of its population dependent on subsistence agriculture.
But what if I told you this group of farmers are making ends meet growing crops in the Port Moresby suburb of Waigani, in the shadows of our nation’s Parliament House? You would probably call me crazy.
“We’re here, just doing our best to survive off the land,” says Efa Ahiso, who along with his wife and many others are amongst a wave of urban farmers here in the capital.
The group have turned otherwise unused land on Somare Circuit, next to the National Development Bank, into an urban oasis, growing pak choi, aibika, varieties of lettuce, paw paw and bananas.
“People ended up coming here because it’s much safer than selling your goods at the market. People can come here, park their car and buy goods from us directly in a completely safe environment,” according to Efa.
There are currently more than 30 people urban farming, a sustainable trend which is taking off worldwide due to the enormous demands being placed upon our food supply systems.
“This is not our land, and although we have had our plots bulldozed in the past by the government, we have rebuilt and replanted and will do so again if need be,” says one of the farmer’s.
It’s an interesting predicament this group find themselves in. They’re making a living, and providing fresh fruit and vegetables for many residents of Port Moresby. As well as this they’re making use of an otherwise empty space, and planting greenery, which can only be good for the environment.
However, it begs the question: do you think this group should be farming on land that does not belong to them? Or are you of the belief that it’s a positive thing to see unused land being put to good use?
We would love to hear your thoughts, particularly if this is something being done throughout other parts of PNG.