One of the ways ExxonMobil PNG is supporting the nation’s relief efforts following the devastation of the earthquake earlier this year, is through the re-establishment of food gardens in a number of project area communities in partnership with the ANU Enterprise (ANUE).
ANUE is distributing some 490 kilograms of quick-growing corn seed that can be harvested within 100 days of planting, 500,000 vegetative cuttings for longer-term staples like sweet potato and cassava and spades to help families cultivate their gardens. Green bean and Pakchoi seeds are also being grown for wider distribution.
We have been working with ExxonMobil PNG and target communities in the Hides area since operations began in 2014 to address food security, vulnerabilities and income generation. To support the restoration of communities recovering from the earthquake, our teams are assisting them with initial planting materials so that they will be able to grow their own food and generate cash crops again.
ANUE Project Manager, Owen Hughes
Communities who have benefited from the improved skills and knowledge from the livelihoods improvement program are in turn helping others to replant as quickly as possible.
The sweet potato and cassava cuttings are being grown by the Belopa, 3-Ways, Kapote and Payaipa community groups at Hides. The Payaipa women’s group is growing bean and Pakchoi seeds. The cuttings and seeds are being brought back through the community livelihood improvement program to supply more communities nearby, in addition to providing important income in a time of need.
ANUE’s broader support programs cover the creation of small-medium enterprises through improved agricultural and livestock management practices, food and nutrition training, and financial literacy training and since its inception, has helped to build self-reliance in 20 communities near PNG LNG operations.
In 2017, 13 Hides-Angore communities involved in ExxonMobil PNG’s community livelihood improvement program have earned more than US$17,022 (PGK60,000) from the sale of fresh fruit and vegetables at market days.
ANUE and ExxonMobil PNG are aiming to generate sustainable economic benefits to more than 900 rural households. The partnership is being broadened in 2018 to partner with community-based organisations and small-medium enterprises to engage disenfranchised groups in the community with tailored assistance to improve their livelihood status.