Picture: Proud maze farmer showing his maze kernels that will be sent to Tabubil chicken farm.

Komovai village, also known as ‘Bethlehem’, lies in the heart of the lower Middle Fly region, about a 15 minute dinghy ride from Obo station.

In 2019, the Komovai community dedicated their land to any opportunities that may evolve from the WestAgro Master Plan that was released by OTDF at that time as the new way forward in agribusiness for the CMCA communities.  Following farmer training for planting and cultivating maize (corn) at Samagos in 2020 the community was given seeds to do trial plantings.

The village farmers cultivated and harvested 40 bags of maize last year but those rotted due to the onset of Covid-19 and the restricted movements that ensued. Not deterred, the farmers planted again this year and handed over several bags with more than 100 kilograms of maize kernels to the OTDF team that visited Komovai on the 23rd of May.

These kernels will be sent to Tabubil to be processed/milled to feed chickens at the Mt Fubilan Poultry farm.

Mrs. Miaso Phillie was vocal on leadership at the community level to ensure the support required to strengthen their commitment to WestAgro in partnership with the Innovative Agro Industry (IAI) and OTDF.

“We are very pleased to see you all today with us. My appeal to the community and the leaders is to work together hand in hand to do agriculture because that is our future. In the future when the mine closes we have our crops (vanilla, rice and maze farms) to support and to sustain us,” said Mrs. Phillie.

In addition to growing maize, Awax Papoa the coordinator for agricultural activities in the village, created a half hectare plot of wild vanilla vines growing on teak trees. Farmers were able to pollinate and harvest beans but these wild varieties are unknown and research will need to be conducted into determining the vanillin content of the beans and their marketability.

Samples of the vines will be grown at Samagos and IAI will further investigate the bean quality and provide feedback to the community in due course, through their representative based in Kiunga.

OTDF Media