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Commercial sweetpotato production in the highlands of Papua New Guinea
journal contributionposted on 12.02.2020, 00:00 by Philip Brown, Kirt Hainzer, Talitha Best, J Wemin, L Aris, C Bugajim
The economy of the Papua New Guinea (PNG) highlands, especially in those areas with relatively good transport infrastructure, is evolving rapidly, with smallholders continuing to turn from subsistence farming to market-oriented production. Sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas) plays a key role in this evolution, becoming a cash crop in its own right and assuring food security in more diverse systems with coffee, vegetables and small livestock providing a cash income. Research was conducted to support smallholders to turn from subsistence farming toward market-oriented production, producing specifically for the market and managing production to meet market/customer requirements. A mobile acquired data system (Commcare v2.43.1) was used to survey major sweetpotato production regions and map market-oriented sweetpotato value chains. Characteristics of growers and other chain participants were assessed and compared to those of subsistence growers. Crop production capacity was improved by introducing a scheme to supply clean, high performing planting material. An increase in market-oriented production created income generating opportunities for growers as well as enabling other groups to enter into sweetpotato fresh product and sweetpotato-based food product supply chains. © 2019 International Society for Horticultural Science. All rights reserved.