Sago shortage “likely” in Manus

A villager from the Nali- Penabu local level government area, south coast of Manus is very concerned that his area could face shortage of sago if villagers were not practicing sustainable harvest.

John Yokai said it was important that awareness about sustainable harvest of sago was repeatedly disseminated to the people.

“Long wod bilong mi igat bikpela bagarap I kamap,” he admitted.(In my local ward, there is huge damage being done to sago)

He said he was concerned because sago was their staple food.

John Yokai (second left) posing with his three friends who attended a week long workshop on sustainable use of resources.
John Yokai (second left) posing with his three friends who attended a week long workshop on sustainable use of resources.
 

Increase in population also exerted pressure on overharvesting.

“Saksak bifo em ol save karim flawa na ol man katim,” Yokai said.

(In the past sago reaches maturity where it produces flower and then it is chopped down)

“Tasol tete taim development wok long kam…ol man ino save katim wanpela saksak tasol, ol save katim olsem long wan wik o wan mun, samting olsem faiv,” he said.

(People chop down about five sago palm trees in a week or a month because of many different reasons)

Yokai said some of the sago palms were chopped to make sago for customary obligations, others to sell and earn money, and some were for consumption.

The danger, he said, if people over harvest could lead to severe “sago shortage” and people would suffer a lot because sago was their staple food.

He said sago palms mature after 15 to 20 years and the rate they have been chopped down for food and other uses in Manus was at an alarming rate.

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