She is a Laureate for the Prize for Women’s Creativity in Rural Life 2006.
Maria LINIBI – Papua New Guinea
Maria Linibi (51) has become one of the most outstanding role models for women farmers in PNG. Rural women play a key role in this still essentially rural country and economy. However, as in many other areas of the world, rural women often live in the shadow of their spouses. A highly competent business woman in her own right, Maria and her husband have developed their own farm and she tirelessly uses the experience gained there to stimulate and encourage other women farmers.
This has been done under trying circumstances. PNG is a struggling developing country, and rural areas are often neglected in terms of services, communication and transport. It is a testament to the laureate’s courage and persistence that she has been able to achieve such a lot. Born in 1955, she worked as a public servant for many years before leaving this job to work on her own farm in 1990.
Thereafter she became a successful farmer, trailblazing the production of crops unknown to the area, and tirelessly working to disseminate this knowledge among women farmers of the region. She became a farmer trainer of many food crops now successfully grown in the Markham Valley where she has her home.
A particular success of her husband and herself has been the introduction of the African yam to the area. Other plants they have successfully promoted are peanuts, rice, sweet potatoes, etc. She has trained 500 farmers individually in rice, vegetables, bulb onion production, watermelon and many other varieties. She has organized women farmers in the region and has also pioneered the production of plant-based organic products such as oil and locally medicated soap. (To read all, go to Rural-Life Prize, and click first on the year, second on the name).