Strengthening Agricultural Resilience in Western Province: Scoping Study

McKinnon, Katharine
Placino, Pryor
See, Justin
Houghton, Steph
Gibson, Katherine

Executive Summary

Our research responds to the need for a different approach to improving agricultural livelihoods in Western Province, Papua New Guinea, and is intended to guide an alternative approach to development – one that emphasises assets rather than needs. This report synthesises key findings and recommendations from the scoping study ‘Strengthening Agricultural Resilience in Western Province’ and is intended to inform future research and development investments in the region.

The overall study encompasses two projects: FIS/2021/122 ‘Mapping place-based strengths and assets’, and FIS/2021/113 ‘Developing methods for strengths-based livelihoods’.

FIS/2021/122 set out to map (conceptually and geographically) the place-based strengths and assets of Western Province, thus producing a knowledge base to inform agricultural development programming strategies. The project aimed to better understand what people in the Western Province currently do in relation to economic activity and market engagement and to contribute to widening the understanding of what PNG communities have to offer the process of locally-led development, including, for example, women’s leadership abilities, Indigenous cultural and ecological knowledge and the untapped potential of young people.

FIS/2021/113 aimed to identify locally appropriate livelihood development practices for the agricultural development sector working across the diverse regions of Western Province. The study aimed to identify suitable tools and methods for participatory livelihood development activities that are tailored to the different geographic, ecological and social contexts across Western Province. The tools and methods identified in the study are important resources (‘tools of the trade’) to enable practitioners to improve their practice.

These projects were commissioned by ACIAR and DFAT to inform future programming in Western Province of Papua New Guinea.

Commencing during the travel restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic, the projects were designed as desktop studies. The findings rest upon a comprehensive literature review of the last decade's research and development programs in Western Province, discussions within our Stakeholder Reference Group, and 41 interviews with 37 expert informants. Respondents provided valuable reflections on their programmatic experiences, sharing success and failure stories along with insights into Western Province's various assets and strengths.

Download the whole document to read more about the project findings and recommendations.

Read associated final reports here:




Suggested citation

McKinnon, K., Placino, P., Houghton, S., See, J. & Gibson, K. (2024). Strengthening Agricultural Resilience in Western Province: Scoping Study. (Project report). Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR); Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Australia.