Showing posts with label Agriculture. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Agriculture. Show all posts

Agriculture in PNG: Unearthing the Past Agricultural Practices and Its Future Prospects

Agriculture in Papua New Guinea (PNG) has a long and fascinating history that dates back thousands of years. Archaeological excavations and research at Kuk, in the highlands of PNG, have provided valuable insights into the practices of the past, shedding light on the early cultivation techniques and land usage. 

This article explores the evidence of ancient agricultural practices at Kuk and what it means for the future of agriculture in PNG. It is based on ''The Case for 10,000-Year-Old Agriculture'' [PDF] in the Whagi Valley by Tim Denham, Jack Golson and Philip Hughes.

(Note that these practices are widely practised in present-day Whagi Valley and other parts of the Highlands of Papua New Guinea)

Kuk ditch and traditional agriculture practices in PNG

Unearthing the Past: Agriculture at Kuk 10,000 Years Ago

In 1974, while studying plantation drains at Kuk, archaeologists discovered evidence of human activities buried beneath grey clay. 

Excavations in subsequent years revealed a palaeochannel and a palaeosurface, unique features dating back 10,000 years. The palaeochannel, known as Kundil's Baret, was likely used for irrigation, while the palaeosurface, found adjacent to the channel, displayed signs of former agricultural plots.

The evidence suggests that people were manipulating the environment around Kuk 10,000 years ago. They engaged in forest clearance and dryland cultivation using a swiddening regime, which involved slash-and-burn techniques. These practices led to increased erosion and significant changes in the local landscape.

The palaeosurface features, such as pits, runnels, stakeholes, and postholes, indicate that people cultivated various edible plants, including taro, bananas, gingers, yams, and other vegetables and fruits. The presence of a stone pestle used to process starch-rich food plants further confirms their reliance on agriculture for sustenance.

The Debate: Wetland Agriculture or Modified Dryland Practices?

Archaeologists and researchers have debated the interpretation of the evidence at Kuk. Some believe that the palaeosurface features indicate the emergence of wetland agriculture, specifically focused on cultivating taro. Others argue that the practices observed were similar to extensive forms of plant exploitation or potentially swidden cultivation, with no significant distinction between dryland and wetland agriculture.

While the specific interpretation remains a subject of debate, all agree that the multidisciplinary evidence points to prehistoric plant exploitation and cultivation practices. The study of plant remains, the palaeoecological signals, and the archaeological remains at Kuk offer valuable insights into the early agricultural activities in PNG.

Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security

Understanding the practices of the past can inform the future of agriculture in PNG. The ancient cultivation techniques at Kuk, focused on diverse crops for sustenance, resonate with modern concepts of sustainable agriculture and food security. 

The historical reliance on a wide variety of crops highlights the importance of crop diversity in mitigating risks associated with climate change and other challenges.

Learning from the past, modern agricultural practices in PNG can be diversified, promoting the cultivation of various traditional crops alongside modern varieties. 

agriculture in papua new guinea

Implications for the Future of Agriculture in PNG

Adopting sustainable farming methods, such as agroforestry and crop rotation, can enhance soil fertility and prevent erosion, contributing to long-term agricultural productivity.

By combining the knowledge of past practices with contemporary agricultural innovations, PNG can build a resilient and sustainable agriculture sector, ensuring food security and prosperity for future generations.

Drawing lessons from the past, PNG has the opportunity to develop a robust and sustainable agricultural sector.

Agriculture in PNG

Agriculture in Papua New Guinea has a rich history that spans thousands of years. The discoveries at Kuk provide a glimpse into the past practices of land usage and cultivation techniques. 

The evidence suggests that early farmers engaged in diverse agricultural activities, focusing on a variety of crops to sustain their communities.

By promoting crop diversity and adopting eco-friendly practices, the future of agriculture in PNG can be cultivated to ensure the prosperity and well-being of its people for generations to come.

Benefits of Agriculture in PNG: Local Broccoli Farmer Helps His Community

A story of hard work, sharing, opportunity and, above all, giving back to the community. 

His success story starts from when he sold a small pig for K300 and with the cash purchased broccoli seeds. 

From never working a formal 8am - 5pm job and instead solely being a subsistent broccoli farmer, he has been able to move from a traditional kunai house into a permanent fully furnished house.

Find out about Agriculture in Papua New Guinea benefits people - how a local broccoli farmer sells his produce and makes a steady income.
(Pic: Pastor Charles & family - new house at the back) 

He has also constructed a permanent church for his congregation, see picture below. He has been fortunate to educate his children as well as other children within his community, and pay the brideprice of his own sons and many others within the community.

Agriculture in Papua New Guinea highlands
Church built by Pastor Charles

Hilans Fres Agronomical advice and local farmers network

With the agronomical advice from Hilans Fres extension officers who visit farmers across some of highlands regions, Pastor Charles was able to further his broccoli knowledge and is now a lead farmer for Hilans Fres and has been since 2015. 

He has his own broccoli plots which he harvests, but also has 34 faithful out-grower farmers working with him to meet the volume requested by Hilans Fres. 

Hagen market western highlands province
Pastor Charles Broccoli Nursery in Tambul, WHP

Once matured, the harvest is delivered to Hilans Fres Dobel depot in crates and following Hilans Fres’ strict cool chain process makes its way to Tininga Supermarket shelves as well as supermarket shelves in Port Moresby and various mining sites around PNG. 

Pastor Charles helps the community 

Being a lead farmer, Pastor Charles co-ordinates his farmers’ production schedule so that supply is regular and continuous “supply mas go yet!”.  At present, he is supplying 1,500 kilograms twice a week, and even three times a week if there is a demand for broccoli. 

Recognising the enormous opportunity, Pastor Charles has been encouraging his fellow community members to also plant broccoli. 
So much so that he spent K22,000 on broccoli seeds to distribute within his community!

Finding a steady market with Hilans Fres

Before he started selling to the Hilans Fres, he would sell his broccoli at the Mt. Hagen Market. 

Although he admits that some days he was able to get more from selling at the market the income is not consistent or guaranteed. 

Some days he would have to bring the produce back home if there was no sale. Since 2015 with the assistance from HF and his own commitment, he is able to earn a guaranteed consistent income for himself and his farmers.

Pastor Charles’ next dream is to buy his own vehicle so that he no longer has to rely on the two-hour (car hire) trip to get his broccoli to Hilans Fres depot in Mt Hagen.

Story and photo credit: @Hilans Fres

  • This story was originally published on Hilans Fres Facebook page. 
  • Learn about the company's agriculture work with the locals on their website (click here).
  • Below is a Youtube video of the fantastic work they are doing with the local communities. 

Editor's note

We saw this post about Pastor Charles and how one local company helps him to find a steady market in Hagen, Port Moresby and the mining towns; and thought it was worth sharing. 

So, we reached out to Hilans Fres on Facebook and with their permission, we are sharing this wonderful story of Pastor Charles with you. Thank you for sharing this story with us Hilans Fres!

Western Highlands Province | Road Network and Agriculture a Powerful Combination

I have little understanding of Western Highlands Province, especially its vast inter-linked road networks that link the province's fertile highlands and valleys until I visited the province. The roads are sealed and in excellent condition. All feeder roads lead to Hagen City. 

One road worth mentioning was the road connecting Ogelbeng, Baiya Gorge, Baiya Valley and Kitip and Waghi Valley - sealed and in perfect condition. 

Local Western Highlanders are very hard-working people, toiling the soil. To name a few:
  • Pabrabuk gives you the best pineapple.
  • Paglum gives you the best Kaukau and potatoes. 
  • Tambul gives you the best Karuka. 
  • Fruit and vegetables, banana and you name it, grows in abundance. 

Western Highlands is probably the province in PNG that has a very good road network and its people cultivate the land to make ends meet. In fact, they are empowered to sustain themselves through the road excess to market. 

There are other roads like Tambul and Nibiliyer, Pabrabuk and Paglum roads which are in bad condition. The roads into Hagen city are, sadly, in an appalling state. I believe the Chinese are going to do a good job upgrading and sealing the Hagen City roads. 

So, if I were to give WHP a mark out of 10 for its:

1. Road network I would give it       9.5/10 
2. Road condition......................      8/10 
3. Working the Land.................      10/10 
4. Taste of Pabrabuk pineapple....  10/10, and 
5. Tambul Karuka..........................  9/10

These are very high marks for road excess to market and service.

PNG MPs Continue to Receive Massive Salary Increases Since Sir Michael Somare's Time

Over the years, politicians in Papua New Guinea (PNG) have been receiving staggering pay increases, with no signs of slowing down. 

Sir Michael Somare's time as Prime Minister

The trend started during Sir Michael Somare's time as Prime Minister, and within just seven years, parliamentarians would be enjoying an astounding 82% increase in their salaries alone.

It all began in November 2010 when Sir Michael Somare's government unanimously approved a whopping 52% pay rise, just before the Christmas holidays. 

This unprecedented increase set a new standard for politicians' salaries in PNG.

PNG MPS pay increase

Increase for politicians' salaries in PNG

The trend continued in November 2013, when Puka Temu, the then Public Service Minister in Peter O'Neill's government, announced another pay raise of 7%, which was backdated to January 1, 2013, and paid to every Member of Parliament just before their Christmas holiday. 

But that's not all - the minister also declared a separate increase of 7.5% and 2.5% to be paid from 2014 to 2016 to every public sector worker, including the MPs.

To clarify, the 2013 increases were in three parts: 
  • a one-time payment of 7%,
  • a 3-year increase of 7.5% of the actual gross salary, and
  • a 2.5% of the average salary. 
The average salary is calculated by dividing the combined salaries of all earners by the number of earners.

Staggering 30% Spike in MPs Pay

The increase means that every public servant, including MPs, would receive a 7.5%/2.5% increase in instalments over a 3-year period from 2014 to 2016. 

If the government stays true to its promise, public servants would have seen a staggering 30% spike in their annual pay by 2016, equivalent to a 10% increment every year.

The impact of these increases is significant. 

By the end of 2016, the annual salaries of PNG's politicians would have nearly doubled compared to what they earned in 2010.

PNG MPs Salaries

  • Prime Minister earns over K364,000
  • Speaker of Parliament earns over K296,000
  • Deputy Prime Minister earns over K271,000
  • Opposition Leader earns over K271,000 (same as Deputy Prime Minister)
  • Government Ministers earn over K211,000
  • Other MPs earn over K106,000
  • Provincial Governors earn over K74,000

These amounts are exorbitant and raise questions about the morality of such increments. 

The salaries earned by politicians are more than enough to live with their people and serve their constituencies. 

However, it appears that they want even more to sustain a lifestyle elsewhere, away from their localities.

The trend of massive pay increases for politicians in PNG, which started during Sir Michael Somare's time as Prime Minister, continues to persist. 

These unprecedented raises have resulted in exorbitant salaries for politicians, raising concerns about the moral implications of such increments. 

In conclusion, as the salaries of politicians skyrocket, it's crucial to ensure that public funds are being used responsibly and in the best interest of the people of Papua New Guinea.

Blast from the recent past | Goroka Coffee Ranked Third in World Competition

Quality coffee produced by a local coffee producer was ranked third in an international coffee cupping competition in the United States of America recently.

The Sihereni coffee estate, owned and operated by David Orimarie in the Kwonghi area of Upper Asaro Local Level Government in Daulo District of Eastern Highlands Province won the 3rd placing among a total of 30 coffee samples of different coffee producing countries collected by Ecom Trading around the world.

The coffee was tasted and certified by the Rainforest Alliance under “The Best of Ecom Coffee” competition using cupping standards of the Specialty Coffee Association of America.

During a recent announcement of the award at the Heaven Resort in Goroka, managing director of Monpi Coffee Exports,Chris Anders expressed great satisfaction on the achievement. Monpi Coffee Exports is a subsidiary of Ecom Trading, an international commodity trading company. Anders said, the result reflects the commitment and persistency of Orimarie to achieve top quality coffee.

“Sihereni’s achievement is an achievement of the PNG coffee industry,” said Anders.
Orimarie acquired the 22 hectares estate planted with a mixture of Arusha and Blue Mountain, in 2002 and has been in partnership with the Monpi Coffee Exports to improve his wet mill and acquire advice on agronomy, better business practice and seek niche markets. He expressesed great satisfaction on the achievement and attributed the achievement to Monpi Coffee Exports for the much needed advice and guidance.

“Quality control is the basis of our operation. Quality control standards have been established and are made sure they are maintained at all times,” said Orimarie in a previous media report written by reporter James Kila.

The report states that Sihereni has developed quickly to gain more reputation in the international and local coffee and finance community through its initiatives to produce quality coffee and practice good financial management.

The coffee samples from Sihereni scored 85 points and was described as having the taste of; melon, black tea, grapefruit, intense fruit, herby, tomato soup, sweet, bright acidity, medium body, adds grapefruit and floras in finish as cools.

Manager for Industry Regulation and Compliance at the Coffee Industry Corporation,Sam Menanga, shared similar sentiments and urged other coffee companies to follow suit in producing quality coffee to attract niche markets.


Fri 25 Oct 2013



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