Bonney, L and Palaniappan, G and Atuai, M and Gwabu, C and Sparrow, L and Boersma, M and Doyle, R and Birch, C, Using value chain systems modelling to develop more sustainable cool temperate vegetable marketing systems in a transitional economy: a case study in PNG, Proceedings of the 5th World Congress of Conservation Agriculture incorporating 3rd Farming Sytems Design Conference, September 2011, Brisbane, Queensland, pp. 1-4. (2011) [Refereed Conference Paper]
Agriculture is important to Papua New Guinea (PNG) accounting for 21 per cent of GDP and 17 per cent of total exports (Coppel, 2004). Production is predominantly carried out by smallholders working ‘customary land’ using subsistence agriculture methods. Family subsistence needs are still largely met by the household’s production on its own land and so they are not compelled to rely on regular sales to obtain daily necessities (Benediktsson, 1998, Worinu, 2007). Supply chains generally operate with spot market forms of governance (Gereffi and Frederick, 2009) characterised by short term, opportunistic, sometimes exploitative and even violent behaviours. Thus, there are few incentives for smallholders to improve consistency of supply or the quality of their vegetables to markets outside their local area. This perpetuates poverty and disempowerment of smallholders (Vermeulen and Cotula, 2010) and, if they aspire to change their situation, the cost of accessing education and health services drives significant internal migration to major urban centres (Bourke and Harwood, 2009). In particular, this has caused social and environmental problems in the peri-urban areas around the capital, Port Moresby. The PNG Fresh Produce Development Agency (FPDA) conducted the only major study of fresh vegetable supply to Port Moresby and estimated that there is a shortfall in vegetable production that could be as high as 80,000 tonnes per annum (Liripu, 2008). The recent resources boom has exacerbated this shortfall and imports increasingly substitute for local production reducing the benefit of the boom to PNG. Central Province has the physical and climatic potential to meet much of Port Moresby’s demand for food however, finding sustainable models of agrifood production compatible with the complex socio-economic and infra-structural constraints on commercial-scale production will be necessary if this is to occur.
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