Papua New Guinea
Papua New Guinea occupies the eastern half of the island of New Guinea (the western half, called Irian Jaya or West Papua, is part of Indonesia), as well as some nearby islands. New Guinea is part of the Pacific island region known as Melanesia. Papua New Guinea lies at the southeastern edge of Southeast Asia, to the east of Indonesia, and north of Australia. The total area of Papua New Guinea is 459,854 square kilometers (285,753 square miles). Papua New Guinea’s only land border is with Indonesia, and it is 820 kilometers (509 miles) long. The country’s coastline is 5,152 kilometers (3,201 miles) long. Papua New Guinea is about the same size as California. The capital, Port Moresby, is located on the southern side of the mainland, on the Coral Sea.
Agriculture is important to Papua New Guinea for both income and as a source of food. In total, the agricultural sector contributes 25 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), not including subsistence agriculture. This contribution comes primarily from the production of crops such as coffee, oil palms, cocoa, and coconuts, all of which grow well in the country’s tropical climate. Coffee, palm oil, cocoa, and coconut products (copra and oil) are the main agricultural export revenue earners, with US$240.3 million total value in 1998, and their production employs an estimated 77 percent of labor in the country. The bulk of Papua New Guinea’s export agricultural products are produced by villagers. Australia, Japan, and South Korea have consistently been the major buyers of the country’s agricultural exports since 1970.
Most Papua New Guineans own the land on which they grow their own food crops, of which sweet potatoes, sago, bananas, coconuts, taro, and yams are the most important.
Forestry is an emerging part of the agricultural sector, and about one-third of forest lands have been opened to commercial exploitation. Much of the timber industry is dominated by Malaysian companies. Papua New Guinea is now the world’s second-largest exporter of round tropical logs, most of these going to Japan and Korea.
PNG Women in Agriculture Development Foundation (PNGWiADF)
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