About the research project

The PNG Women Farmers Business Project – The  Family Farms Team project

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 Family Farm Teams project.

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. Click here to view the final report for this stage. 

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. 

The Highlands Hub sites and partners (2015 and 2016)

  • Goroka and Daulo districts of the Eastern Highlands province —Fresh Produce Development Agency
  • North Waghi, South Waghi and Anglimp districts of Jiwaka province —Voice for Change
  • Lumusa district of Western Highlands province —Baptist Union

The Islands Hub and partners (2017 and 2018)

  • Ward 7 and Ward 11, Tikana Local Level Government, New Ireland— New Ireland Department of Primary Industries
  • Halia constituency, Tinputz Local Level Government, Buka, Autonomous Region of Bougainville

The project is led by the Australian Institute for Sustainable Communities at the  University of Canberra, in partnership with the National Agricultural Research InstitutePacific Adventist University, the University of Technology (PNG), the Baptist Union PNG, the Fresh Produce Development Agency, Voice for Change, New Ireland Department of Primary Industries and Bougainville Women’s Federation.

The project is funded by the DFAT Pacific Women Supporting Pacific Development program and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ASEM/2014/095: Improving opportunities for economic development for women smallholders in rural Papua New Guinea).

Read more about the project team and partnersbaseline research study or project related publications.