Archive for the ‘Land’ Category

Husband and wife team Mere and Igu Yawane have been teaching women in the Eastern Highlands how to make this delicious bread from cassava.

Cassava flour and bread

Cassava flour and bread

Cassava processor to produce the flour

Cassava processor to produce the flour

Not only is the bread more tasty than the one at the shop, it is a source of food that can be relied upon during times of drought. And, it’s a money-maker – Mere sells her own cassava loaves direct to customers for K6!

Cassava bread

Cassava bread

Mere explained the couple’s motivation for helping train women in this enterprise: “Things won’t always be good every year, we go through hard times too,” she said.

“At these times – insects eat the sweet potatoes, rice doesn’t grow well – we must store something. We can make this flour in readiness for these times of need. And use it to feed your family at that time.”

Mere Yawane, food security trainer and entrepreneur

Mere Yawane, food security trainer and entrepreneur

Savé PNG's Jennifer Waiko speaking at the Slow Foods festival in Italy last month

Savé PNG’s Jennifer Waiko speaking at the Slow Foods festival in Italy last month

PNG’s farmers and traditional cuisine took centre stage at one of the world’s major food events last month.

Markham Valley-based non-profit Savé PNG spoke at the Slow Foods (‘Salone del Gusto’) festival in Torino, Italy.

At the event, Savé PNG director Jennifer Waiko was invited to speak on a conference about ‘Indigenous Peoples and Local Food Sovereignty: A struggle for self determination’, where she said the farmers who are severely neglected by the PNG government hold the key to PNG’s economic independence.

“The majority of Papua New Guineas have is the ability to earn a livelihood from the land,” Waiko said. “We have the skills, but we need the training and market opportunities to gain financial independence.

“Political decisions in Papua New Guinea are based on money: that is, on short term aspirations. Make the people financially independent and they will make more choices based on long term aspirations.”

Savé PNG is working to inspire Papua New Guineans to embrace their cultural identity and protect their traditional foodways. They believe that celebrating traditional food is the first step towards community resiliency in the face of health, climate and cultural threats in PNG.

They are currently working on a educational video series called “Cafe Niugini” which explores indigenous cuisines and cultures of Papua New Guinea.

Slow Food is a global movement that aims to “counter the rise of fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions, and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world.” At this year’s four-day festival, there were 950 food exhibitors from 130 countries.

Savé PNG’s Bao Waiko is hopeful PNG farmers will be represented at the 2014 Slow Food festival.

“Salone is the perfect opportunity for small local PNG food groups working on agricultural products such as coffee, chocolatecoconut oil, honey, dried fruits and other locally grown and processed products to gain international exposure and recognition”, Bao said.

If you would like to know more about Slow Food go to Read more about Save PNG here or contact Jennifer and Bao at

Tomato growers at theSlow Food Festival in Italy

Tomato growers at theSlow Food Festival in Italy

Screen Shot 2012-12-05 at 9.10.56 AM

Damaris Loie and her husband Tella have worked together for over 20 years making honey in the frontyard of their home in Logofate, in Ungai-Bena District.

The couple have customers for their delicious, 100% organic honey from around the Highlands, but aren’t keeping their specialised knowledge to themselves: they’re trying to train other women in the Eastern Highlands, so they can help ‘kamapim’ others. “They will be happy, and you will be happy too,” Damaris said.

Screen Shot 2012-12-05 at 9.30.02 AM
Tella loves working with his wife, and says more PNG men could benefit from doing the same.”Working in partnership with women is very good,” he said. “We’re a team, and it makes our work much easier. Also, women are very good managers, especially in terms of finance.

“If PNG men have this mentality where they’re only thinking of themselves, it won’t work as well. But if we can team up and apply the wisdom of women – their management skills, their way of looking after their families and putting food on the table – if we can incorporate this attitude into our businesses, I think communities in PNG will be better off.”

Screen Shot 2012-12-05 at 9.30.39 AM

Screen Shot 2012-12-03 at 2.31.37 PM

Sesame John is a flower-gardener in Kabiufa, Goroka. Every week she sells flowers, fetching up to K200 per pot! She also sells large amounts for events and celebrations, and regularly hires out her gorgeous posies to Goroka University for graduation ceremonies. Her beautiful garden contains literally thousands of kina in flowers.

Having worked profitably in floriculture for more than 20 years, Sesame is a firm believer in reaping what you sow. “We have our land, so we must work,” she told us. “Moni stap long graun (‘money is inside our land’). If we work hard, we make money. If we are lazy, and wait for someone else, it will be hard for us to survive.
“You must work, you must sweat. And you will reap the rewards of your hard work.”
Screen Shot 2012-12-05 at 9.25.13 AM

Serah Yasona decided to revive her father’s old fish farm after he passed away. A single mother, she had three children and one adopted child to provide for.

Last year she set about refurbishing the fish farm (in Komiufa, Goroka district), plastering the seven concerete ponds and fixing the pipe system with her own hands, from her own sweat. She went to her DPI office to get some advice about how to do it. She has even added two more large ponds. She plans to sell fish at the markets or direct to local buyers.

Serah said she was not only happy to have found to a way to support her family, but she’s come to realise her potential as a Papua New Guinean woman.”I saw that I had to do something so I could pay for my children’s school fees and other living expenses,” she said. “I taught myself how to do this and it’s really interesting. Now I want to work on my farm all the time!”

Lucy Kioso started raising cattle a few years ago, after leaving her husband. She had to find a way to provide for her children. Today, Lucy owns 38 cows on her property in Kopafo, in Ungai Bena District outside Goroka.

Each cow sells for around K2,500 (over AUD$1,000) each – the cow in the photo below is ready for selling and Lucy is confident it will fetch that price.

Lucy’s cows are sought after and she has keen buyers from around the district. Her income supports her family and contributes to her local community.

Lucy doesn’t ride a horse – so to round up her cows, she has trained them to respond to her call. When she sings out, the cows come to her. It’s an astonishing sight.

“I don’t need a man to help me,” she told us proudly. “I’m a woman and I am very capable of looking after cows. And I’m doing it.”

Zavis Pupune is building her own guesthouse on her land at Fanayufa, Goroka. Her story is one of gentle determination.

“I started selling flowers to make a little money,” she explained to Our Pacific Ways when we visited her place last week. “I thought I could use that to start a chicken farm.

“From starting with one box of chickens I went to three and then four boxes. Then I started a piggery too. I can get K1,500 for one pig.”From those earnings, Zavis is building a guesthouse, and has dreams of also building a conference room on her property. Through her hard work and vision, her children now have the opportunity to go to school in Australia.

“Working little by little, we can improve our lives,” she says. “I believe that I can do something, with the few skills that God has given me, to do something to improve my life. I have land. I can use it to do something for myself.”

By Joel G. Waramboi

This year PNG celebrated 37 years of nationhood. One thing that has not stopped growing ever since is our population, and in the last 10 years, our population has been growing rapidly at about 2.4% per annum, reaching 7 million people in 2012. During the same period, although there is no concrete data, our per capita gross domestic product (GDP) could have declined dramatically due to several factors like lower outputs from agricultural crops and commodities. On the other hand, the inflation rate has risen, which now sits at around 10%.

This is an alarming trend, and by 2016, the population is expected to be around 12 to 15 million. This will place huge demands on increasing food production and assuring food security for our people. Reports from the Asian Development Bank shows that the natural resources sector (agriculture, forestry, fisheries) contributes almost 70% of total cash income for people in PNG. These industries will continue to be prime movers of the local economy.

From 2014 onwards, revenue inflows are expected from the LNG project. In September last year, the then Agriculture and Livestock minister Sir Puka Temu called on the government to put some of this money into food and agriculture industries. His calling is timely, and must be supported at the political level. In 2005, the PNG Government adopted the Green Revolution and Export-Driven Economic Recovery Strategy. For the sector, this strategy was aimed at improving production and creating market demands for our crops to meet growing domestic demand, and also to seek export market opportunities.

In recent years, we have seen several vehicles that could have taken the sector forward, like the Public Investment Programme and the National Agriculture Development Plan, go by. Last year, a forum aimed at setting a roadmap for policy intervention to develop the food and agriculture sector was held in Madang. We hope this translates into tangible outcomes that can spur growth and development in PNG.

Several projects and programmes have been tried out before on tree crops, livestock, fisheries and other natural resources industries. But as far as food crops are concerned, no investments have been made. One potential food crop that requires minimal capital injection is the sweet potato (kaukau). Since being introduced nearly 300 years ago, it is now the most important food crop in terms of both production and consumption. Total annual production for PNG has been estimated at 2.9 million tonnes, with the Southern (620,000) Eastern (470,000) and Western (425,000) highlands provinces being the main producers, followed by Enga (340,000) and Chimbu (294,000).

It is a staple food, and provides 64% of the energy needs for people. Five years ago, per capita consumption was 2.2 kg/person/year, and this year, increased to 2.8 kg/person/year. One reason to explain this is that, in the last 10 years, sweet potato has been traded in increasing volumes as a cash crop in urban centres of Port Moresby, Lae, Kokopo and other centres.

There are many constraints that affect production and marketing of the crop, including soil fertility, rats (which can destroy up to 10% of the crop), poor access to roads, lack of farmer extension services, and poor post-harvest handling practices that lead to rotting, broken roots and subsequent loss in monetary value. Currently, a few ‘commercial’ sweetpotato farmers are located in the Asaro and Waghi valleys, who grow mainly for coastal urban markets.

Currently, utilisation and consumption of sweetpotato in PNG has primarily been in the form of boiled or roasted roots. There is no processing of the crop. In the past, some research and product development work was done at the PNG Unitech into products like flour, chips, crisps and composite bread. Recently, NARI successfully released sweetpotato based feeds (silage) for pigs. Experiences from Vietnam and China have shown that the crop could be highly utilized for livestock production, where it constitutes 70% of pig feeds.

Past and current R&D work on sweetpotato suggest that it can be a potential commercial crop for PNG. On-farm processing of sweetpotato could form an additional income-generating activity where a constant supply of the fresh roots and demand for processed products is secured. With government assistance, this industry can be transformed from its currently under-utilised status to a commercially viable industry.

Sweetpotato processing is increasingly being commercialized in many countries in Africa, Asia and the United States. In Australia, the sweetpotato industry is worth A$40 million annually.

There is low-cost extrusion equipment available, costing as low as $10,000 (K24,000) with production capacity of 30 kg/hour. These have successfully been used in rural communities in Vietnam, China, Peru, Kenya and other countries to make noodles, pasta, vermicelli, flakes, crackers, puffs and other products. Besides extruded foods, these communities have also used sweet potato flour for substituted biscuits, bread and scones, while fresh roots have been processed into chips and crisps.

Currently, fresh kaukau roots are sold at around K2-5 per kg in the open markets in PNG. Although there are no statistics, some rough calculations show that, if processed, the dry flour could cost as low as K0.80 per kg, providing a cheaper product compared to wheat flour. This means that, retail margins can be relatively good for entrepreneurs. Processing not only increases the utilisation and consumption, but also fetches premium prices if sold, increases cash income opportunities for people, and avoids bulkiness during handling. Sweetpotato processing technologies are relatively simple, and can be adopted easily through farmer co-operatives and women’s groups.

Generally, there appears to be a strong and all-year round demand for processed products. Changing food habits, increasing urbanisation, demographic changes and population growth are all positive factors that can make food processing a viable option in PNG.

The PNG government and all line agencies must now take a complete policy shift and focus, and realign both macro-economic and sectoral policies, and allocate funding and resources to develop the agriculture and food processing industries in the country. Alongside this, it should also invest in rural infrastructure programmes to create enabling environment that will support industry development and growth in rural communities.

We should also take a stock of what and why the industry has not developed over the many years. If past investment options (if any) have not worked, what other models and options can we try? How about setting up an organisation specifically mandated to drive development in this sector? It is about time that the food and agriculture sector takes this course to revolutionise and harness its potential to the fullest. Until and unless this is done, crops like sweetpotato will continue to be treated as poor man’s crop.

Downstream processing and value addition has the potential to benefit en masse, raise the economic value, and create market demand for local crops. It will also improve food security and cash income levels, increase trade and replace/substitute imports, thereby contributing to broad-based economic growth and improvement in the living standards of the people.

Rita Aroga, Grade 8, Holy Spirit Primary School, Madang

The fourth goal of Papua New Guinea is for its natural resources and environment to be conserved and used for the collective benefit of everyone and be replenished for future generations.

The environment is everything around us including our resources. Papua New Guinea is well known for its land and water resources. A resource is anything that we have the knowledge of using. Banana is a food resource for many Papua New Guineans; kunai grass is a resource traditionally used for building houses and stone is a non-renewable resource used in making tools and axes.

Papua New Guinea has traditional subsistence lifestyles. We have plenty of natural resources and we use these for food, medicine and building houses and canoes.

  • Land resources include plants, soil, domestic animals, wildlife, minerals, forest, swamps and wetlands. They meet our basic human needs.
  • Water resources come in different forms: oceans, rivers, mangroves, marine life etc.

All of these land and water resources are for personal use or for an income. However, as population increases the consumption of these resources is becoming unsustainable. This is because of poor management and the selfish attitude of people.

The use of land and water resources must be managed wisely if we are to provide for the needs of people now and in the future. There is a need for appropriate ways of managing resources. Some of these include: conservation, reforestation, sustainable fishing/hunting/gathering, coral reef protection, protection of the natural environment, water conservation, wildlife management etc. If these resources are mismanaged, human life is in danger.

Sustainability and conservation methods are needed in order to preserve these resources for the next generation.

The exploiting or taking away of resources is happening in both land and water resources. In our country today, exploitation is taking place in three main areas; that is in the sea, on the land, and under the ground.

  • In the sea, fishing is the common purpose of exploitation. We have big fishing companies who use illegal fishing methods. For example, a large fishing boat from RD canners is using a large trawling net to catch tuna. The boat pulls the net very slowly while it swallows anything passing by including young breeding stock and their habitat. The entire marine environment is destroyed at that time. The boat makes one harvest and all the tunas are gone in that particular fishing zone. They take certain sizes and quantity and the rest (already dead) are thrown back into the sea. This then creates major problems such as a decrease in the endangered species and water pollution. This type of fishing should be banned by the government and the companies should find a more safe method of fishing.
  • On the land, forest environments are becoming scarce because people clear the land for agricultural purposes, infrastructure development and the introduction of logging companies Forest areas must be conserved because most of our basic needs come from it. For instance, a man living along the [Gogol] River wanted to make canoes for his family. He selected a few mature trees and cut them. He made the canoes but according to an awareness of future generations, he replanted young new ones so his sons and their children may be able to make canoes in the future.
  • When exploitation takes place under the earth’s surface, we know that it is generally mining of minerals. We have a lot of operating and possible mine-sites in our country but the question is: minerals are non-renewable resources which means nature does not replace them, so if all of them are exploited today, what will our future generations benefit from? This question should be reconsidered by the government very carefully before allowing mining companies to advance onto our local areas. They must think of sustainable ways and how to manage these resources so that they won’t run out very quickly. One solution could be to only allow four major operating mines, one in each of the four regions. The other mines can be closed and re-opened when the fixed time is up. In that way, we can save some of the minerals for future generations.

The environment as a whole must be protected and conservation law enforced if we are to provide for the needs of people now and in the future. In addition to that, sustainability and conservation practices depend on our positive actions as well as positive attitudes.

Conservation has always been important in the traditional life of Papua New Guinea. There are many ways that our natural resources and environment can be conserved. The wise use of resources depends on our attitudes towards the environment. We should reuse, recycle and replant, use traditional and safe methods and good practices. In this way, our needs are satisfied while safeguarding resources for the next generation.

Conserving is an appropriate way of managing resources. By conserving resources people can use the same garden land without cutting down more forest. Reforestation – that is, repantin young trees after old ones have been cut down, is another way. Sustainable fishing, hunting and gathering are good sustainable practices that involve taking only what you need for useful purposes.

Community leaders must educate people so that they use the reef wisely to meet their needs as well as sustain it for future generations. Wildlife management is needed in order to preserve our beautiful birds, butterflies and animals. If they are not protected, they will be in danger of extinction. Good management can allow wildlife to flourish in their natural environment.

There are many ways to protect our environment and natural resource, both modern and traditional, but traditional methods are the best when it comes to conservation of resources.

Papua New Guinea is a mountainous, rainforest covered country located on the western edge of the Pacific Ocean. It is a country richly blessed with natural resources. This essay is based on my thoughts on the fourth national goal of Papua New Guinea which calls for wise use of natural resources and the environment for current and future generations.

Underground resource exploitation

In Papua New Guinea, underground resource exploitation is a major income resource and has dominated the economy since the 1970s. Unfortunately, these activities can cause widespread and diverse damage to the environment, including destruction to vegetation and wildlife around the mine areas.

An example is the Ramu nickel mine in Madang Province. The locals near the mining area have an ongoing battle with the mine management over the company dumping 100 million tonnes of mine waste into the Basamuk Bay over a period of 20 years. This will damage the marine ecosystem in the bay, reducing critical sources of food and income for the local people. In April, it was reported that several ships carrying Ramu mine processing plants spilled chemicals into the Basamuk Bay, causing bleaching to the coral reefs. It was also reported that people have been removed forcefully from their homes to make way for the mine. This also led to the destruction of sites that are culturally significant to the local people.

Environments around minesites cannot be easily restored to their original richness in diverse fauna, flora and animal life. Traditional medicine, plants for body paints, wild edible fruits, greens, roots and native animal habitat are destroyed for good.  Destruction to river life and ocean life occurs when mine waste are dumped in them.

All underground resource exploitation causes environmental damage. Even though mining brings revenue into a country and creates job opportunities, it damages the land, river systems and oceans. People affected by mining lose food sources from the forest, rivers and sea through contamination from mine waste. The fish, animals and birds which feed in such habitats move away or die in large numbers. Therefore people who depend on food from the forest, rivers and seas are left with reduced vegetables, fruits, nuts, fish, animals and birds to hunt, catch or collect for food.

After the life of the exploitation of mineral resources, the local people may be left with nothing but a mining ghost town, if they have not invested well their royalty benefits during the life of the mine.  Our country must seriously consider the advantages and disadvantages of exploitation of its mineral resources and make a decision on whether it should allow the large scale exploitation of its mineral resources in future.

Logging Industry

PNG is reported to have the largest area of rainforest left in the Asia- Pacific region. Forestry in Papua New Guinea contributes 4% of GDP and is dominated by Malaysian logging companies. However, between 70-90% of all timber exports derive from illegal logging – one of the highest rates in the world. In areas where illegal logging occurs, there is generally minimal monitoring of tree harvesting. In such cases, all kinds of trees are harvested whether they are mature or not, the right size or not, or the right type of wood or not. The loggers are also not generally concerned with the practice of reforestation. They harvest and leave, and do little or nothing to replant new native trees of the same species of trees that have been harvested.

This can lead to the loss of habitat of many animal and plant species. Native plant species will die out and animal species will move to other similar habitats which may be long distances away from the people’s villages. The migration of the animals and the death of plants will affect the people who depend so much on them for their survival.  If the responsible authorities monitor the logging companies’ activities and demand reforestation through appropriate legislation, there may be enough trees left for future generations to use. Animals and birds will also remain in the forest for the people to hunt for food in future.

Fishing Industry

PNG’s seas are full of valuable marine resources and have the largest fisheries zone in the South Pacific, measuring 2.4 million to 3.1 million square kilometres. The fisheries sector in PNG contributes only 1% of the GDP but is extensive and ranges from inland fisheries, aquaculture, coastal beche-de-mer and reef fisheries, to the prawn trawl and large-scale tuna fisheries. However, having a large fisheries zone presents an enormous challenge for monitoring and controlling fishing vessels in PNG’s EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone).

In recent months, groups of people have been arrested for illegal fishing in PNG waters. The use of nets and dynamite fishing for commercial purposes can lead to overfishing especially when fishing activities are not monitored well by the responsible authorities. It is a common practice in some parts of PNG to use explosives to stun or kill marine life. Dynamite fishing is used to harvest large quantities of fish for commercial purposes. This is an illegal and very dangerous practice and it kills all marine life in areas that are dynamited. Meanwhile, in net fishing, nets are cast into the ocean/ rivers and are pulled along by boats trapping not only fish but other marine life as well. A lot of other marine life is killed during this process.

If large quantities of marine and freshwater stock are destroyed through regular use of these methods of fishing, there will be reduced or no marine life left for future generations. Unfortunately, traditional ways of sustainable fishing, such as restrictions on fishing at certain times of year to allow for regeneration marine life, is no longer observed and practiced by many PNG communities because of the influence of commercial fishing. To ensure that there is sufficient fish and marine food for future generations, communities in coastal areas have to revive traditional sustainable practices such as sea farming of fish, clams, seaweed and prawns and marine regeneration practices.


I have discussed three types of natural resources exploitation in Papua New Guinea. These are underground resource exploitation, logging and fishing. Here are some of my recommendations for sustainability of natural resources:

  • The government should reinforce the Environment and Conservation act and ALLOW the people to challenge deals concerning the extraction of resources from their land;
  • Appropriate authorities must regularly monitor all land and marine exploitation activities in the country to ensure environmental damage is minimal;
  • Conduct awareness programs for the communities affected about the different types of exploitation of lands and their effects on their food and income resources.

-Stephanie Paraide, Grade 9, St. Joseph’s International Catholic College Port Moresby