Evaluating the economic impact of pathogen tested and conventional practice sweet potato production in the highlands of PNG

Richard Culas, Coleman Pombre, Alex Agiwa

Research output: Other contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) is a major staple food crop in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Around 90% of PNG’s population consists of semi-subsistence smallholder farmers for whom sweet potato is a major food crop. It is grown extensively in the high-altitude highlands as a subsistence food crop by smallholder farmers and is developing into commercial production for cash income. The national demand for sweet potato is high and increasing and the income elasticity of sweet potato is positive. Sweet potato production is profitable and the profit from its production can be increased (doubled) when improved technologies are used by famers. Thus, PNG has a comparative advantage in sweet potato production. However, pests and diseases attack especially roots and foliar attack by a wide range of pests and diseases remains a major challenge. Majority of the PNG farmers do not practice an active pest and disease management, which has a significant impact on the yield and farmers’ income. Few farmers have opted to use cultural practices to manage the pests and diseases, though these methods are ineffective and expensive. Therefore, an alternative intervention technology (innovative method) through introducing pathogen tested (PT) seeds is required to produce pest and disease damage free quality tubers. Countries which use pathogen tested planting materials, for instance, Australia has reported producing more than 30-35t/ha tubers, while conventional practice (CP) farmers in PNG reported 15t/ha in the highlands and 13t/ha in the coastal areas. There is a potential to improve yield and income of smallholder sweet potato farmers in PNG by adopting to PT.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 09 Feb 2021
Event65th AARES Annual Conference - University of Sydney, Sydney NSW, Australia
Duration: 09 Feb 202112 Feb 2021


Conference65th AARES Annual Conference
CitySydney NSW
Internet address


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