An enormous El Nino event, already among the four most powerful recorded, has inflicted a devastating drought on Papua New Guinea and elsewhere in the Pacific. It has affected 2.5 million people in PNG alone and there have been multiple deaths, especially of children, due to food shortages. SCOTT WAIDE offers some important facts that all Papua New Guineans need to know.
THERE are pockets of very dry areas where the impact of the drought is evident and alarming as well as areas experiencing "post drought periods" where rains have come.
The green spurred by the rains is deceptive. This is when the food shortage really happens. Crop tubers rot in the ground and insects hatch and start feeding on crops.
Crops affected by insects cannot be expected to produce high yield after the drought because insects lay eggs on them and they will continue to hatch and feed.
There will be severe food shortages in areas experiencing post drought period.
There needs to be more communication between the districts and various government agencies - especially the National Agriculture Research Institute (NARI).
NARI has developed disease free kaukau seedling propagated for drought affected regions. One variety matures in 90 days. These crops need to be transported to the remote districts.
The Districts need to take control of their own well-being by approaching NARI to get those crops for distribution.
There needs to be a coherent government strategy taking into account all the information we have available in order to tackle the drought and post drought scenarios.