Cocoa in Papua New Guinea

Cocoa is the third most important source of village agricultural income, after coffee and fresh food. In the early to mid 1990s, an estimated 850 000 people (27% of the rural population) lived in households where cash income was earned from selling cocoa. Cocoa generated an average of K218 million per year in export income from 2004 to 2006, which was 14% of the value of agricultural exports in this period.


Continue reading “Cocoa in Papua New Guinea”

Coffee in Papua New Guinea

Coffee is one of the most important cash crops in Papua New Guinea (PNG), with export revenues consistently topping US$100 million per annum. Total production for 2016 was nearly 1.2 million 60-kg bags (70,260 tonnes). Globally, PNG ranked 18th in the world for coffee production for 2016/2017 (USDA and FAS 2017). Most of the coffee produced in PNG is the Arabica species, the main Arabica coffee – growing provinces being, in descending order of importance, Eastern Highlands, Jiwaka, Western Highlands, Morobe, Simbu, East Sepik, Southern Highlands, Enga, Madang, Oro, Sandaun (formerly West Sepik), Milne Bay, Central and Gulf (CIC 2016:3). Importantly, coffee is the mainstay of the local economy, especially in the main Arabica-growing provinces of the highlands. In the period 1990–1995 Arabica provided 33 per cent of all income from agricultural activities — more cash income to rural villagers than any other commodity. This situation is likely to hold true today, although fresh food production has increased greatly since that data were recorded. The coffee sector in PNG mainly comprises smallholders (approximately 400,000) and it is estimated that 3 million people in the country are dependent on coffee income.

Continue reading “Coffee in Papua New Guinea”

Colonization of Papua New Guinea

In 1884 Germany and Britain established Protectorates in the eastern half of New Guinea and adjacent islands. Germany took the northeast and adjacent islands and Britain took the southeast and adjacent islands. The western boundary of both Protectorates was the 141 degree east longitude. The western section of the island had been annexed by the Dutch in 1828.

From 1884 to 1899 German New Guinea was administered by a private company, the Neuguinea Kompagnie. When the company failed, the Protectorate was formally taken over, as a colony, by the Imperial German Government. In 1914, at the outbreak of World War I, Australia occupied the German colony. Australian military occupation ended in 1921 when the League of Nations declared the territory to be the Australian Mandated Territory of New Guinea. In the south, the British declared their Protectorate to be a British colony in 1888. In 1906 the British handed the colony to the Commonwealth of Australia which renamed it the Australian Territory of Papua.

Following the Japanese invasion in 1942, parts of both New Guinea and Papua were under Japanese or Allied (American and Australian) military occupation. After the war (1945) the Australians administered Papua and New Guinea as one territory, the Territory of Papua and New Guinea, until 1975 when the Territory became the independent state of Papua New Guinea.

Communications in Papua New Guinea

Traditional methods of communication between villages included conch shells, drums, gongs, smoke signals and, across highland valleys, yodelling. Objects sent over longer distances could carry particular meanings. Europeans introduced Western communication techniques which, until World War II, served mainly expatriate, not PNGan, interests. In 1955 the Administration established a Department of Communications which was handed over to the Postal and Telecommunications Services in the Department of Public Utilities at Independence in 1975.

Continue reading “Communications in Papua New Guinea”

Constitution of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea

The Constitution, which was adopted in August 1975, immediately prior to Independence, sets the national goals as: integral human development; equality and participation in development; national sovereignty and self-reliance; and conservation of natural resources and the environment. The Constitution guarantees the right of freedom from inhuman treatment, forced labor, arbitrary search and entry, conscience, thought, religion, expression, assembly and privacy. These rights apply to people whatever their race, tribe, place of origin, political opinion, color, creed or sex. The Head of State is the monarch of Great Britain, represented by the Governor-General, who appoints and dismisses the Prime Minister on the proposal of the national parliament, and other Ministers on the proposal of the Prime Minister. The Governor-General is appointed on the proposal of the National Executive Council (cabinet). The Constitution also provides for a national parliament, a National Executive Council, an independent judicial system, a public service, police force and defense force.

In 1991 the Constitution was amended to increase from 6 to 18 months the grace period of immunity from votes of no confidence allowed to an incoming government. In September 1993 Prime Minister Wingti proposed that the Constitution be amended to reverse the legal convention of a person being considered innocent until proved guilty and introduce compulsory identification cards. These proposals met with strong resistance from church and community groups and students and were, at least temporarily, shelved.

Constitutional Planning Committee

Established by the House of Assembly in 1972, the Constitutional Planning Committee (CPC) considered the timing of self-government and Independence, regional interests, and control of foreign investment, as well as the development of the Constitution. The CPC became part of a personal power struggle among parliamentary leaders in the three years before Independence and some of its more radical recommendations were rejected by the House of Assembly.

Copper and Gold in Papua New Guinea

Most gold miners who prospected for gold in the 19th century had worked the Australian fields. There was a rush, initially from northern Queensland, to the Lousiade Archipelago, and then to the mainland, in the northeast of British New Guinea and later still to the Lakekamu River in the south. By 1900 gold constituted over 50 percent of the exports of British New Guinea. Mining of copper, which began in 1910 at Sapphire Creek, in the Astrolabe Range near Port Moresby, was disrupted by World War I but resumed in the 1920s.

Continue reading “Copper and Gold in Papua New Guinea”

Copra and Copra Oil in Papua New Guinea

Copra is an important source of village income. In the early to mid 1990s, an estimated 527 000 people (17% of the rural population) lived in households where cash was earned from selling copra. From 2004 to 2006 copra and copra oil generated average annual export earnings of K93 million; this was only 6% of the total value of agricultural exports in this period. Most of this amount (85%) was earned from copra oil exports.

Three economic products are derived from the nut of the coconut palm: copra, copra oil and copra meal. Although coconut will regenerate naturally from seed in coastal locations, almost all coconut palms in PNG have been planted by people. In PNG, coconut is grown in environments where mean annual rainfall ranges from 1000 mm to 6500 mm. It is cultivated from sea level to 1000 m altitude; however, the commercial cultivation of coconut is mostly restricted to coastal locations. Coconut normally bears all year round, but production falls significantly during droughts.

Continue reading “Copra and Copra Oil in Papua New Guinea”

Papua New Guinea Creative Arts

In traditional societies, music, singing, dancing and decoration were associated with festivals and a wide variety of daily activities. People decorated their bodies as well as their bags, weapons, canoes and houses. Dances and songs were handed down from one generation to the next or composed for special events. From the 19th century missions discouraged traditional artistic culture, because much singing, dancing, architecture and sculpture was associated with pagan beliefs. Almost the only artistic activity encouraged by most missionaries was the singing of hymns.

In the 1970s a creative arts movement which included writers, painters, sculptors and musicians was associated with the development of nationalist sentiment in the years preceding Independence. An annual national literature award was established in 1979 to encourage young writers. Most of the writing is in the English language. Writers, musicians and visual artists often blend traditional and Western styles and themes. In the 1980s bands such as Sanguma performed Western style popular music influenced by PNG traditional culture. Indigenous forms of urban popular musice. g., string band music: songs accompanied by guitars and sometimes other instrument shave developed. These are widely disseminated by radio and on cassette tapes. Popular songs are mostly in indigenous languages, including Tok Pisin.

Cults and Millenarian Movements in Papua New Guinea

Cargo cults, which included the belief that European goods (cargo) could be acquired by practicing rituals, have been reported since the 1890s. Central to most cargo cults was the belief that Western goods had been manufactured by the spirits of the ancestors and misappropriated by white men, and that the white men would leave when the spirits returned with the goods. One of the earliest well-documented cargo cults is the Vailala movement (also known as the ”Vailala Madness”) in the Gulf of Papua in 1919 which predicted that the ancestors would bring goods by steamship or aeroplane.

In an outburst of cargo cult activity after World War II, people in various parts of PNG ceased hunting, fishing and working in the gardens in the belief that their ancestors would arrive with food. In the Madang district in 1945 Yali founded the Rai Coast Rehabilitation Scheme on the assumption that the Administration would reward loyal PNGans with cargo. When the Administration failed to do so, he formed an influential cargo cult movement. The colonial Administration often confused attempts to establish cooperative and welfare movements for radical reform of village society with cargo cults.

Millenarian cults did not necessarily share the belief in cargo but predicted that their followers would achieve a state of perfect happiness on the arrival of the Millennium. Most cults incorporated some Christian beliefs and practices. Melanesian cults have received much attention from anthropologists, sociologists and theologians.