Friday, 16 November 2012

Review of Food and agriculture in PNG

Commentary by Braden Jenkin

In 2007 I began assisting with projects associated with Papua New Guinea’s rural communities, specifically considering trees as a cash crop within food production systems. I was amazed at the broad breadth of published available information.
Braden Jenkin with Dr Sir Puka Temu

I was able to make use of the Agricultural Systems of Papua New Guinea series of reports, which were published by the Australian National University. I found them very informative and practical series of documentations of agriculture in the areas where I was working. These publications were of particular benefit to building on my understanding of agriculture in PNG.

As a forester with a financial and business focus, a key gap in the information available was a single comprehensive reference on agriculture in PNG which included time series data on physical and financial aspects of each crop.

In 2008, Dr Mike Bourke informed me of his teams’ project to produce a comprehensive reference titled Food and Agriculture in Papua New Guinea. I was pleased to provide comment in my areas of expertise (forestry) and this only raised my anticipation of the potential of this reference.

With the publication of Food and Agriculture in Papua New Guinea in 2010, my expectations of the potential utility of this reference were well and truly exceeded. I have found this document to be a fundamental concise source of knowledge on PNG agriculture. I would suggest that it should find a prominent place within the references of anyone associated with agriculture and society in PNG.

The book contains almost 500 pages of text, plus appendices and index, amounting to a total length of 638 pages. It is divided into six major parts: (1) People, Land and Environment; (2) Food Production, Consumption and Imports; (3) Village Food Production Systems; (4) The Broader Economy; (5) Cash Income from Agriculture; (6) Agricultural Development, Policies and Governance.

These six parts are preceded by a foreword by the PNG High Commissioner to Australia, Mr Charles Lepani, and three introductory essays. The book further contains 165 tables and 215 maps and figures.

Copies of Food and Agriculture in Papua New Guinea may be obtained free-of-charge from the UPNG Bookshop. People living in Port Moresby can pick up copies from the bookshop at the UPNG Waigani campus. Those living outside Port Moresby can have copies send to them by sending an email to: upngbooks@gmail.com. There is no charge for the book or postage, thanks to a grant from the Australian Government through AusAID.

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