Vegetables are an integral part of the diet of people in Papua New Guinea (PNG). For thousands of years, subsistence gardening has produced a wide range of edible indigenous plants, and more recently vegetables introduced by Europeans.
Urbanisation and change in demographics offers opportunities for the development of viable commercial vegetable production and marketing enterprises. A recently completed project (SMCN/2008/008) focussed on increasing vegetable production in Central Province of PNG for the rapidly expanding market in Port Moresby, the national capital.
The project used Rapid Value Chain Analysis (RVCA) to identify which vegetables provide potential commercial opportunities, and needs for biophysical and socio-economic research. It also used Appreciative Inquiry (AI) to provide socio-economic insights, effective community engagement practices and identify training needs.
The final report can be found on the ACIAR website.
See a video about the project by Laurie Bonney and The University of Tasmania.
Extension work and training provided as part of the project has enhanced the knowledge base for the groups involved and has provided confidence for ongoing activities, especially at village level. Farmers and villagers who have been involved in both the value chain and production aspects reflected a very positive attitude towards the work. It is anticipated that leaders emerging from the project and those who have undertaken ‘train-the-trainer’ workshops will continue to implement changes.
With an increased community understanding of the system, including the role of various participants in the value chain, closer working relationships between producers and retailers have emerged. This is providing the basis for improved economic outcomes for the communities involved and in the longer term other communities.
Possibly the single most important impact is on community confidence. Assertions have been expressed like ‘we can do this, but the Government needs to help; by which the villagers are referring to the need for infrastructure such as roads, stores, and provision of advisory services.