Sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) is the major staple food crop of 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 mainland highlands of PNG as a subsistence crop by farmers and is developing as a cash crop for commercial production. However, pest and disease attack, especially roots and foliar attack by a wide range of pests and disease remains a major challenge. Majority of 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 traditional cultural practices to manage the pest and disease, though this method is ineffective to control the pests and disease. There are also some farmers who use pesticide and insecticides, but they are not available close to the farmers and also costly to purchase by the farmers. Therefore, an alternative intervention through combination of Integrated Pest and Disease Management (IPDM) can be a promising approach to control pests and disease. The IPDM intervention can be socially, economically and environmentally beneficial; while improving farmers’ livelihood and contributing to food security objectives. A significant reduction in sweet potato weevil damage from an average of 45% to less than 6% was archived in Cuba (Lagnaoui et al. 2000). Half of total area planted to sweet potato in Cuba is under an integrated pest management program, using combinations of various locally available components. Yields have increased from 6 t/ha to 15 t/ha nationally. The current project aims to develop improved crop protection options in support of intensification of sweet potato production in Papua New Guinea (PNG). The socioeconomic component of this project is to analyse the Impacts of the Implementation of IPDM on Sweet potato production in PNG. This report prepared is for the purpose of Mid-Term Review of the project and it provides the following: a review of sweet potato production in PNG and the usefulness of IPDM, the framework developed for analysing the socioeconomic impacts and the associated survey questionaries prepared in this regard and some preliminary results of the data collected from the field sites of the project in PNG. Sweet potato yield under each IPDM technologies and the level of pest and disease incidence severity were analysed. The result for marketable yield from four project sites in Jiwaka province is included. In each project site the farmers’ sweet potato plots were subjected to two methods of pests and disease control, the IPDM package (Best Bed, BB) and conventional practice (CP). The BB treatment indicated high marketable sweet potato yield weight across all sites compared to the CP. With respect to the level of severity, the BB had significant impact on controlling scab and gale mites. However no difference is found between the BB and the CP in the controlling arthropods. The ongoing activities for the socioeconomics analysis include the following: more data will be collected from the project sites for analysing the impacts of IPDM and the farmer’s perceptions towards adopting the technologies, continue the collaboration between project partners in PNG and conduct workshops for in-country capacity building. A student from PNG (Coleman Pombre, AusAid Awardee) is also engaged in the project and working on his Master of Sustainable Agriculture (MSA) dissertation.
|Commissioning body||Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)|
|Number of pages||25|
|Publication status||Published - Feb 2019|