The PNG Women Farmers Business Project – Save long Bisnis na Wok Fama, Bilong Kamapim Gutpela Sindaun Project (Growing the Business of Farming for Wellbeing)
The PNG Women Smallholders Business Project has been examining, developing and facilitating ways to build the business acumen, skills and knowledge of women farmers in Papua New Guinea (PNG) since early 2012. The project is known in PNG as the Save long Bisnis na Wok Fama, Bilong Kamapim Gutpela Sindaun Project (Growing the Business of Farming for Wellbeing).
The project has a focus on empowering women subsistence farmers. As in most developing countries, these women farmers provide the majority of the labour and are key to the production of both subsistence crops and cash crops. Increasingly, women farmers need to engage in the cash economy to pay for education, health, daily living and cultural obligations. They seek to improve their family livelihoods and operate profitable businesses.
The first stage of the project worked in three diverse areas of PNG: Central Province (2012 to 2014); East New Britain (2012 to 2015) and Western Highlands (2012 to 2015). This stage of the project focussed on collaborative work with local women leaders and women and men farmers themselves to create, design and trial a number of learning activities and resources. These activities aimed to improve business and financial literacy and assist with the adoption of a planned approach to agricultural activities. One major success of this stage was the development of a ‘family teams’ approach, which encourages men and women to work together in an effective and equitable way. The final evaluation and impact studies for this stage will be completed by June 2016.
The second stage of the project began in July 2015 with the aim to test the scalability of stage one into six new areas of PNG and new commodity crops. Work began in the first area (the Alona ward, Lumusa, Mul-Bayer district of the Western Highlands) in September 2015 in partnership with the Baptist Union. In 2016, the project is working in the Waghi and Minj valleys of Jiwaka in partnership with Voice for Change and in the Asaro Valley of the Eastern Highlands in partnership with the Fresh Produce Development Agency.
The project is funded by the DFAT Pacific Women Supporting Pacific Development program and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and being conducted by the University of Canberra, in partnership with the National Agricultural Research Institute, the Baptist Union PNG, Pacific Adventist University, the University of Technology (PNG), the Fresh Produce Development Agency (PNG), Voice for Change, New Ireland Department of Primary Industries and Bougainville Women’s Federation.