PNG government urged to use land to give young people jobs
The Papua New Guinea government urged to allow people to develop government leasehold land in Central Province so people can grow food to sell to those working on the LNG project.
The Papua New Guinea government is being urged to make it easier for people to develop government leasehold land.
The technical adviser for Oxfam's Ending Violence Against Women programme says there is widespread unemployment while plots of fertile land are lying fallow.
Three percent of the land in PNG is held under government-owned leasehold interest.
Catherine Natera, who comes from Bereina in the Kairuku district of Central Province, says she is determined to see people in her area growing crops for market.
CATHERINE NATERA: I know that when we were growing up we used these agricultural plots to just grow food for our consumption. But we're hoping that the LNG ??? please listen ??? which is just on the outskirts of Port Moresby, can be a market for these things. When knocking our doors we were told 'Don't even waste your time. The government will not have the capacity. The officers won't be there'. And I said 'They're the provincial administration. If I'm knocking on the doors and they're not there, I'll find out for myself that what you're saying is true'. So we went and stood for like an hour in front of the commerce office. No-one around. I told my brother who used to work there, I said 'Let's go try the agriculture section, the department of agriculture. They have women in the agriculture programme'. So we knocked there. No-one. And just next-door was the lands section. I looked through a little window and I saw somebody. He tried to escape and I just pushed the door and it opened, so I walked in. And I said 'Are you in this section?' He said 'I'm not'. I said, 'But you're here. And I just walked through the door, so you're going to be here, because I've just stood one hour there and I've knocked on every other door to get to you, so you're not going to go. I just have one question'. He said 'OK'. We went and sat down. The office didn't look like an office. The chairs were half-broken. So he said 'OK, what's your question?' I said 'I just want to know if you have some maps of the Bereina station'. He said yes. He pulled out one. It was not a survey, just the map. And he said 'What do you want to see on that?' I said 'I just want to check the agriculture portion of the station'. So there were 17 allotments. So he told me 'OK, you'll have to go back to the national department to get the survey plans'. And he asked 'Why are you seeking this information?' I said 'I'd like to mobilise the titleholders'. And I went and spoke to the fresh produce authority, which is the ones that help find markets and help packaging. So I said to my brothers 'You have plans to develop our plot. I'll go and mobilise some action for all of us, so we're all involved. And I know there's government money there. I know the gender focus. So I'll go and knock on the gender-sensitive programmes 'cause I work in that area. They said 'OK' and that's it. I never got further than that because no-one was around to talk to me.
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