Project final report

Improving the Papua New Guinea balsa value chain to enhance smallholder livelihoods - Final report

Date released
14 December 2016
Publication Code

Peter Kanowski and Braden Jenkin


This project aimed to enhance the livelihoods of smallholder balsa growers, improve value recovery for balsa growers and processors, and provide the basis for strengthening the position of Papua New Guinea in the international balsa market.

With an estimated 1500 smallholder balsa growers, and a workforce of 2500 – 3000 engaged in balsa harvest, transport, processing and export, these activities operate under the regulatory oversight of the PNG Forest Authority, which also plays an ‘honest broker’ role in transactions between companies and smallholders. Balsa is a fast-growing plantation tree grown by both companies and smallholders in East New Britain Province (ENB) of Papua New Guinea (PNG). It is a relatively low labour-input crop with competitive returns, and so adoption by smallholders has increased as the area under cocoa production has decreased. Producing 9% of the world’s processed balsa, the ENB balsa industry is entirely export-oriented.