n Journal of Emerging Trends in Economics and Management Sciences - Capacity building of smallholder sweetpotato farmers in Papua New Guinea

Volume 6, Issue 7
  • ISSN : 2141-7024
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Sweetpotato is the most important food crop in Papua New Guinea. In recent years, it has become an important cash crop for smallholder farmers driven by the need to generate income in a developing market economy. Demand for sweetpotato is increasing, especially in coastal markets, because of income growth and increasing urbanisation. However, meeting growing demand requires a transformation from subsistence to commercial farming. This has been challenging for the smallholder farmers, value chain players and policymakers because the majority of smallholder farmers do not have the resources and necessary technical and business management skills to meet the market requirements for quality and the consistency in supply. Most of these issues may be addressed by equipping smallholder farmers with the necessary skills through education and training. This paper summarises the research, development and extension activities undertaken to identify the training needs and build the capacity of smallholder sweetpotato farmers, as well as the lessons learned and policy implications for further improvement. The main conclusion is that the smallholder farming systems are complex, and are becoming more diverse, a flexible and coordinated national approach to RD&E is required to help smallholder farmers achieve productivity gains and improved livelihoods.

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