With Papua New Guinea's rapid population growth (around 2.1%), along with increasing migration from rural to peri-urban areas and the expansion of the gas and mining industry, there is rising demand for higher-value food products, particularly in large and expanding urban areas such as Port Moresby. Population changes are also changing food preferences, including greater emphasis on temperate vegetables.
A number of highland regions grow a range of temperate vegetables, but supply to Port Moresby is limited by poor transport infrastructure and inconsistent product quality. The major alluvial valleys in Central Province have better transport infrastructure (the national road network) and a relatively dry season that limits disease pressure. Perennial streams have sufficient flow for irrigation. Central Province could supply the increasing demand for temperate vegetables - if the correct vegetables were selected, appropriate land, soil and water management practices developed, and agronomic strategies to grow quality produce introduced.
This project identified and addressed vegetable supply chain priorities in Central Province, to equip communities so they could take advantage of the opportunity to enter the temperate vegetable market and thus improve their socioeconomic position in a sustainable manner.