New publication brings together lost information on food and agriculture in PNG

By Seniorl Anzu

A new publication on agriculture in PNG has recently been published.  This data-rich book, titled “Food and Agriculture in Papua New Guinea”, contains many aspects of agriculture in PNG. Topics include:

  • agricultural environments in which crops are grown;
  • production of food crops, cash crops and animals;
  • land use;
  • soils;
  • demography;
  • migration;
  • the macro-economic environment;
  • gender issues;
  • governance of agricultural institutions; and
  • transport.

The purpose of the book is to demonstrate how important agriculture is to PNG and to provide the knowledge that will enable policy makers to make sensible plans for it, within the PNG economy. For a developing country, PNG is rich in information for planning, but most of it is not accessible to those who need it. This book was initially conceived to bring this ‘lost’ information on PNG agriculture together in a single publication where it would be easy to access.

PNG High Commissioner to Australia Charles Lepani says: “The book makes that missing information available in one place…”. It began as a compendium of statistics but has evolved into a comprehensive book of 72 sections on PNG agriculture and related topics. The number of sections alone demonstrates how agriculture pervades almost every aspect of life in PNG.

The book, published by ANU ePress, has dual focus: food production and cash income. Almost every section relates to how people manage the environment, the production and the marketing of the commodities they produce. An overview of 50 000 years of agricultural history in PNG is also provided.  The book also provides 20 myths about PNG agriculture.

Edited by Dr Michael Bourke and Tracy Harwood, the 638-paged publication was officially launched in Port Moresby by Abau MP Sir Puka Temu late last year. The contributing authors are Dr Bourke, Dr Bryant Allen, Dr Mathew Allen, Dr Andrew McGregor, Professor John Gibson, Professor Alan Quartermain, Dr Kate Barclay and Dr Jean Kennedy.

Softcopy of the book in pdf can be downloaded from http://epress.anu.edu.au/food_agriculture/pdf_instructions.html . Request for hard copies should be sent to Sue Rider sue.rider@anu.edu.au at the Australian National University, Canberra, Australia, who is managing the distribution. In PNG, copies are now available with the UPNG bookshop and can be sent out by the bookshop, but the requests for copies should be sent to Ms Rider (ANU).

It is an important resource all Papua New Guineans should have as they will find its contents useful in many respects.

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