Social Systems

Examining women's business acumen in Papua New Guinea: Working with women smallholders in horticulture

Line drawing of chicken people and plants representing Social Systems program
Project code
AUD 935,656
Project leader
Professor Barbara Pamphilon - University of Canberra
Commissioned organisation
University of Canberra
JUN 2012
DEC 2016
Project status
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This project aimed to train women smallholder vegetable producers in Central Province, East New Britain and the Western Highlands of Papua New Guinea and help them to develop businesses.

It had been assumed in Papua New Guinea that improving women's business acumen would improve economic circumstances for the women and their families. This project tested that assumption and aimed to find better ways to improve women vegetable producer smallholder's business knowledge and practices, taking account of each region's cultural and contextual issues. Researchers trialled and evaluated strategies to improve women's vegetable business knowledge and skills, develop their financial skills and create opportunities, tailoring local schemes to enhance the women's success and security.

Women smallholders are key to Papua New Guinean family livelihoods; they produce essential subsistence crops while caring for their families. When they market their produce, it is for family benefit, such as school fees. This project built on the ACIAR project, ASEM/2009/042 which indicated that many women smallholders may be losing money through a lack of business acumen. That project found that low levels of business skills were exacerbated by low literacy and lack of learning opportunities. A range of women were involved in this project, including those who sold in central markets, peri-urban markets and on roadside stalls.

Key partners
Baptist Union of PNG
National Agricultural Research Institute
National Agricultural Research Institute East New Britain