Valuing indigenous knowledge in the highlands of Papua New Guinea: A model for agricultural and environmental education

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Abstract

Current methods of agricultural and environmental education for indigenous farmers in Papua New Guinea (PNG) fail to provide high level engagement. Indigenous knowledge (IK) forms the basis of natural resource management, agriculture and health of farmers in PNG, yet its value to agricultural and environmental education in PNG is rarely recognised. The argument made in this article is that valuing indigenous knowledge will enhance agricultural and environmental education. The purpose of this empirical study was to assess the application of a knowledge management model in understanding indigenous knowledge to enhance agricultural and environmental education. This article focuses on agricultural and environmental indigenous knowledge and culture in two villages in the Western Highlands of PNG. Participant observation, semi-structured interviews, and apprentice observations were methods to collect data from small-scale indigenous farmers. The study found that as farmers shift to cash crops, IK is devalued against Western knowledge. The study also found that trust, culture, and social barriers limit sharing of knowledge. The article concludes with recommendations for future agricultural and environmental education in the PNG highlands.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalAustralian Journal of Environmental Education
Volume32
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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