A resilient agrobiodiversity food system feeding humanity in rural Papua New Guinea.
Enhancing the agrobiodiversity food production systems capacity for marginalized communities in Lake Kutubu, Papua New Guinea.
In the daily lives of rural women & children, hunting and gathering is core part of their livelihood. Photo: A child and a mother goes out fishing in Lake Kutubu, a freshwater lake in the highlands of Papua New Guinea at 800 m.a.s.l (approx.)
A typical house/hamlet in a rural village, Lake Kutubu in Papua New Guinea. The house is built purely from timber and palm frons. Photo@WWF PNG/2019
Rural women in Lake Kutubu participating in Kutubu Kundu & Digaso Festival, an initiative of WWF & Local community and now a national event hosted every September. It aims to Empower local communities through promotion, awareness and education on natural and cultural heritage preservation and sustainable management.
Photo @ WWF PNG/2017
Lead Applicant Organization Name
The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Pacific, Papua New Guinea Country Programme
Lead Applicant Organization Type
Large NGO (over 50 employees)
If part of a multi-stakeholder entity (i.e. team), provide the names of other organizations and types of stakeholders collaborating with you.
i. SHP Provincial Administration Division of Commerce, Trade & Industry
ii. Nipa-Kutubu District Administration
iii. Department of Agriculture & Livestock
iv. National Agriculture Quarantine & Inspection Authority
v. Conservation & Environment Protection Authority
vi. Climate Change Development Authority
vii. PNG Forest Authority.
i. PNG University of Technology, Dept. of Applied Science & Food Technology
ii. National Agriculture Research Institute.
i. Mountain Honey Ltd
ii. PNG Biomass Ltd
iii. Nature’s Own Ltd
v. Niugini Fruit Company Ltd
vi. Wia company Ltd
vii. Oil Search Ltd
CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS;
i. Foe & Fasu Women’s Group
ii. Kutubu VSLA Microfinance Scheme
iii. Kutubu Youth Link
iv. Kutubu Bird Watch & Trekking Tour Guide Group
v. Lake Kutubu Wildlife Management Committee
vi. Church Group,
vii. IOM USAID
viii. CDI Foundation
x.EHP Bee Farmers Association
Website of Legally Registered Entity
How long have you / your team been working on this Vision?
Lead Applicant: In what city or town are you located?
Lead Applicant: In what country are you located?
Papua New Guinea
Your Selected Place: what’s the name of the Place you’re developing a Vision for?
Lake Kutubu in the Southern Highlands Province covers an area of 250km².
What country is your selected Place located in?
Papua New Guinea
Describe your relationship to the place you’ve selected.
Papua New Guinea’s second Wetland of International Importance, Lake Kutubu, a Ramsar designated site is a freshwater lake, and the second largest in the country. Located in the limestone karst country of Southern Highlands Province, at 800m above sea-level, the site is one of the most important recent additions to the Ramsar List. The lake’s extraordinary level of endemicity (12 endemic fish species) exceeds that of any other lake in the New Guinea-Australian region. The Ramsar nomination has the support of indigenous landowners, who derive sustainable livelihoods from the wetlands. The site includes approximately 1,000ha of swamp forest, 4,924ha wildlife management area, and 25,000ha of water catchment areas mostly under cover of upland tropical forest.
The oil & gas exploration and development in the 1980 to 1992 in the adjacent watersheds of Lake Kutubu had advanced. WWF was concerned that this development would expose this pristine environment to a high risk of secondary environmental impacts. Following the USAID Biodiversity Assessment report (1992-93) recommendations, WWF established an Integrated Conservation & Development Project in the watershed to help mitigate any secondary impacts. This led to establishment of Lake Kutubu Wildlife Management Area gazettal as a protected area and Ramsar Designation in 1998. Lake Kutubu, a critical part of the larger landscape of Kikori River Basin, remains a WWF priority place for conservation development.
WWF continues to build the capacity of local people in addressing sustainable livelihood programmes. The national event of Kutubu Kundu & Digaso Festival was initiated and hosted by WWF and local communities (2010) generating US$150k annually. WWF in partnership with PNG Tourism Promotion Authority is developing additional eco-tourism products linked to the festival. This proposal is part of these developments that will enhance the local community capacity in agrobiodiversity food production systems.
Describe the People and Place: Provide information that would be helpful for an outsider who has never been there and may have no context about this Place to better understand the area.
A locality map of Lake Kutubu water chatchment area in the Southern Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea.
The Kutubu Kundu & Digaso Festival, a nationally recognised event hosted annually every September is a platform for environment awareness, education, and promotion of natural & cultural heritage protection, preservation and sustainable management of natural resources. WWF support this event and provide additional capacity in food preparation, hygien, guest management & linking additional eco-tourism products. Vedeo@WWFPNG/2018r
Local culinary style - a dish prepared with local vegetables and chicken meat. WWF PNG attempts to improve local diet & food systems by providing capacity support to local women groups in cooking, guesthouse keeping, guest management, tour guiding and bird watch and linked to Kutubu Kundu & Digaso Festival. Photo@WWFPNG/2019
Foe & Fasu tribe take pride in demonstrating their natural environment and the rich cultural heritage at the annual Kutubu Kundu & Digaso Festival in Daga village of Lake Kutubu, SHP, PNG. The festival is the initiative of local people and WWF PNG now recognized as a national event aims to promote preservation of local culture & nature and supporting alternative livelihood. Photo@WWF PNG/2017
The Lake Kutubu at 800 meters above sea level (m.a.s.l) is a fresh water lake, a designated Ramsar Site. The general topography compose of karst limestone with network of underground drainage channels. It is an important wetland area that supports wealth of marine life and local livelihood. Photo@WWF PNG/ 2017
Women extracting sago palm starch for food. The Sago palm (Metroxylon) is an important food (starch) source across its range from Southeast Asia, New Guinea and the Pacific Islands. In Papua New Guinea Metroxylon sagu is cultivated in lowland tropical rainforests and freshwater swamps, where it is a major staple food for around 10% of rural villages. The economic and cultural significance of sago in lowland PNG is immense. Photo @WWF PNG/2019: Lake Kutubu woman extracting sago.
Lake Kutubu is situated in the center of the Southern Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea, and it is the country’s highest freshwater lake. The entire catchment and its immediate surroundings comprised of intact upland tropical rainforest resulting in exceptionally clear waters & supports wealth of livelihood for surrounding communities.
The climate is warm & wet, with little variation throughout the year. The month of July & August are coolest period of the year. The mean annual rainfall is 4500 mm & peaks between May & October. Humidity is consistently high throughout the year.
The Foe tribe is the long-time custodians of the Lake Kutubu catchment, with an oral history dating back to time immemorial. This tribe, consisting of a mere 3000 people in 18 closely knit villages, work the land, which is passed down from father to son. They harvest a wide range of vegetables from their lands, including sweet potatoes, bananas, Chinese taro, pumpkin, leafy vegetables & sago, & supplement this with wild fruits & nuts taken from the surrounding lush tropical forests. The fish is caught from Lake Kutubu & cooked with local vegetables using fuel wood in locally designed and built stoves. Largely vegetarian, meat is only eaten on special occasions and comprises of pigs. The people here, like in many rural areas of Papua New Guinea, however suffer from the impacts of poor nutrition, which are linked to poor nutritional intake related to the traditional food systems practiced.
Recently (1990s), the communities have been exposed to rapid growth of commercial logging, mining, oil and gas developments. These industry developments meant exposure to the outside world. The negative impacts have accompanied these development aspirations. Thus, migration began to increase in 2012 when PNG Liquefied Natural Gas Project was under full construction & continues to grow. Illegal settlement along the main infrastructure & mine facilities are noticeable. Tensions between ethnic groups are slowly on the rise. Population increase is also exerting pressure on local land uses, pristine lake & catchment areas, & notable transition effect on local culture.
Further exacerbating from climate change effect had significant toll on artisanal food production & local livelihood. Shift in dry & wet season, temperature & rainfall fluctuations affect consistent production of staple foods. Climate change induced effects such as inland flooding, pest & disease is undermining the food security, exposing risk for the vulnerable location & population.
What is the approximate size of your Place, in square kilometers? (New question, not required)
What is the estimated population (current 2020) in your Place?
Challenges: Describe the current (2020) and the future (2050) challenges that your food system faces.
Environment: Deforestation from industrial and subsistence land use practices have continued to degrade Lake Kutubu wetland environment & challenges livelihood dependence of the people. The influx of local people migrating for a better life, population growth, climate change impacts & related natural disasters are expected to exacerbate negative impacts by 2050.
Diets: The FAO report (1990-2012) that Papua New Guinea (PNG) has poor nutrition, sanitation & health indicators. The child & neonatal mortality target is not achieved, anaemia prevalence represents a severe public health issue, high among pregnant women (55%), non‐pregnant women (36%) & under‐5 children alike (48%). These health issues are linked to high consumption of starchy food with inadequate vital nutrient element for the growth & health of women & children. This condition is crucial & remains unimproved as the country has experienced a stalling of per‐capita GDP. This pauses critical health issue by 2050 especially in the rural areas of PNG.
Economics: The economy of Papua New Guinea is largely underdeveloped. About 80% of the country's population relies primarily on the subsistence economy; smallholder cash cropping of coffee, cocoa, & copra. Nipa Kutubu District’s main economy is subsistence agriculture, however, the current local economy is built around the presence of Oil & Gas development. By 2050, it is doomed as it carries a very high risk for stranded livelihoods, business, assets, employment & income, and ultimately a collapsed economy.
Culture: People typically rely on subsistence farming, and consume a largely starchy, vegetarian diet with limited improvement in nutritional meal. Local culinary practices are very traditional & basic, and remain unimproved. By 2050, the government effort to provide access to improved technology, health & nutritional capacity, farming & food production systems will be limited as it continually experience stalling GDP.
Technology: Inadequate access & affordability to innovative agriculture & food production technologies have deprived 80% of rural based farmers who rely on traditional knowledge. By 2050, this is expected to continue in challenging rural farmers as the government is slow in responding to innovative technologies, for example, climate smart agriculture & food production systems.
Policy: There is a lack of implementation of the relevant government policies at the provincial & local level government. Farmers experience poor road and transport conditions, high freight costs, absence of block chain, poor flow of appropriate information leading to inconsistency in supply chains resulting in quality and quantity issues to markets. By 2050, this will further be exacerbated by government inability to strengthen agriculture sector investment from current revenue from Oil & Gas and mining sectors.
Address the Challenges: Describe how your Vision will address the challenges described in the previous question.
Environment: Review Lake Kutubu catchment management plan, & build the capacity of committee & community members to effectively enforce wildlife management plan.
@Develop clan-based land use &natural resource management (NRM) plans & integrate agrobiodiversity food production system, ensuring less new areas are converted to subsistence farming, & prudent land use to optimize net financial & social benefits.
@Climate-smart agrobiodiversity food production system by integrating a system where trees are intercropped with food/cash crops to offset carbon dioxide, & adapt to unpredictable weather patterns, pests & disease.
@Gender inclusive awareness & education in NRM, Climate Change (CC), ensuring water catchment areas protected & forest cover improved reducing sedimentation, maintain water quality, reduce the introduction of invasive species & building community resilience to CC & natural disasters.
@Evaluate agrobiodiversity food production systems & reduce waste along various production lines.
Diets: There is greater access to affordable local produce through agrobiodiversity food production systems, increased awareness & training for local community & health workers. Multifaceted approach enables the potential to reduce undernourishment, malnutrition, child & mother mortality, & nutrient deficiencies..
Economics: Rural farmers have demonstrated alternative agroindustry, especially create opportunities for access to varieties of improved crop, farming and fresh produce processing, transportation & market access allowable for earning sustainable income & improved livelihood supporting 16,000 population. Multi-stakeholders partnerships recognised voice for farmer extension & regulation on domestic & international markets. The monetary benefit sharing, gender issues, & business competitiveness is addressed through local regulations, & cooperative policies & business plans.
Culture: Promote organic farming in agrobiodiversity systems at household level firstly for domestic consumption & as a means to improve family diet, health & nutrition, influence change on customary & traditional restrictions on diets, cement food security alternatives. Institutionalize gender participation & create recipes incorporating local & improved food varieties in local culinary styles to complement dietary requirement.
Technology: There is greater access & availability of innovative technologies at affordable cost & time for improving food production in agrobiodiversity food production systems for rural farmers. Training & awareness in use & application of technologies, for example, energy efficient solar powered technologies for food production, processing & culinary equipment.
Policy: Enabling conditions for the rural farmers to have a collective voice through participation at multi-stakeholder forums, dialogue events, training and awareness on cross cutting policy issues affecting food production.
High Level Vision: With these challenges addressed, now provide a high level description of how the Place and the lives of its People will be different than they are now.
Vision: In 2050, a sustainable and integrated agrobiodiversity food production system in Lake Kutubu is feeding humanity, ensuring resilient communities, culture, industry and economy.
Environment: Lake Kutubu is recognized & protected water catchment areas, forest cover retained, reduced invasive species, & water quality maintained. Built resilience to climate change impacts & integrated land use & NRM planning in the agrobiodiversity food production system & optimized net financial & social benefits.
Diets: Healthy population maintained; undernourishment, malnutrition, child & maternal mortality, & nutrient deficiencies reduced. The rural population & farmers have greater access to affordable local produce, training & awareness enabling improved culinary recipes & increased nutrient requirements in their daily diet.
Economic: There is viable & thriving agroindustries integrating gender, prudent benefit sharing, & business competitiveness in agrobiodiversity food production system, & farmers have access to improved crop varieties, livestock, & market access enabling sustainable income & improved livelihoods.
Culture: While recognizing & respecting socio-cultural values & spiritual connection for local & traditional food systems, food production in agrobiodiversity systems have improved food varieties, influenced improved family diet, health & nutrition. Had influenced change on customary & traditional restrictions on diets, cement food security alternatives, & blend innovative recipes for inspiring & exciting culinary that nourishes body & soul.
Technology: There is greater access & availability of innovative technologies at affordable cost & time for improving food production in agrobiodiversity food production systems for rural farmers.
Policy: The farmers have a collective voice and recognized in implementing Government of PNG 2018-2022 Medium Term Development Plan Three (GoPNG 2018-2022 MTDP III) & outcomes.
Full Vision: How do you describe your Vision for a regenerative and nourishing food future for your Place and People for 2050?
A locality map of Lake Kutubu in the Southern Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea.
Logging, mono-crop agriculture, and oil & gas developments and mining are threat to the local people and environment. In the face of growing extractive industry the rural poor are marginalized as their land, natural resources, food and livelihood are taken away. Deforestation reduces the dependence of local people on the local food systems. Photo@WWF PNG/2017
WWF PNG maintains stakeholder engagement with local and provincial government authorities and dialogue for commuity development, forge understanding and link farmers with government agriculture extension programmes. Photo@WWF PNG/2020
WWF & Local community in Lake Kutubu has engaged Mountain Honey Ltd in doing feasibility study for bee keeping and natural honey production. An initiative to improve local land use and maximise food, diet and income livelihood. Photo @WWF PNG/2019
Delta Greenfield Women's Group, and Foe & Fasu Women's Group capacity building training in improving local culinary in Lake Kutubu Region. Photo@WWF PNG/2018
Local women fish every day in Lake Kutubu to supplement meal. However, Lake Kutubu has 12 endemic fish species and is already under threat from overfishing and invasieve species - Tilapia fish. Few vialble alternative livelihood options are worked on to reduce pressure on overfishing with local communities. Photo@WWF PNG/2019
Undernourished children at Yo'öbo Is. in the Lake Kutubu. The children were fed at one of the care centres for the 7.5 scale earthquake disaster victims in February 2018. Photo@WWF PNG/2019
Goal 1: Environment: Water, Greenhouse gases, Land use, Biodiversity, Regenerative Agriculture
Objective 1: By 2050, revised Lake Kutubu WMA management plan, develop clan-based land use & NRM plans & built the capacity of committees & have integrated climate smart, & gender inclusive approach into sustainable agrobiodiversity food production system, & contributing to the improvement of water quality, carbon dioxide offset by improved forest cover, & supporting the development of other livelihood ventures; bird watching, tour guide trekking & beekeeping.
1.1 Revised clan land use and NRM plans informed Lake Kutubu water catchment plan and monitoring and enforcement of socio-economic profile, land use patterns and subsistence agriculture systems.
1.2 GIS spatial analysis and 3D modelling of Lake Kutubu catchment informing rural farmers, clans who own land and local level government to make informed land use decisions.
1.3 Climate smart & gender inclusiveness have improved agrobiodiversity food production system enabled reduce new open areas for subsistence farming, water catchment protected, forest cover improved and reducing sedimentation, maintain water quality, reduce the introduction of invasive species, prudent land use to optimize net financial & social benefits.
1.4 Other livelihood ventures identified and developed (bee keeping, bird watch & trekking) and integrated in agrobiodiversity food production systems.
Goal 2: Diets; Population Growth, Malnutrition Rates, Dietary Patterns in 2050, Diet-related Disease Rates
Objective 2: By 2050, about 80% of the population in Lake Kutubu have greater access to affordable local produce through improved agrobiodiversity food production systems, received awareness, education and capacity enhancement training on health & nutrition and have improved local culinary with basic recipe and taking nutrient rich food varieties in their daily diet. Multi-stakeholder partnership enabled reduction in undernourishment, malnutrition, child and mother mortality, and nutrient deficiencies.
2.1 Established multi-stakeholder partnership with local government and health authorities evaluate demography and health & nutritional analysis of local dietary patterns.
2.2 Awareness education and training on healthy diet, malnutrition & lifestyle disease, and accompanied by basic capacity training and integration of recipe for improving local culinary, health and hygiene in local food systems.
2.3 The rural farmers have received training on better farming systems, improved crop variety/germ plasm and greater access to affordable local produce.
Goal 3: Economics; Investments, Income Levels, Work Force, Trade
Objective 3: By 2050, at least three alternative income generation and livelihood options identified and developed for rural agroindustry, & 50% of households engaged through Department of Agriculture and Livestock providing formal recognition and voice for farmer extension and regulation on domestic and international markets. And the farmers have access to training and varieties of improved crop, farming and fresh produce processing, transportation and market access allowable for earning sustainable income and improved livelihood supporting 16,000 population. The monetary benefit sharing, gender issues, and business competitiveness recognized and addressed through stakeholder partnership, local regulations, and farmer cooperative policies and business plans.
3.1 Farmer mobilization and awareness education and stakeholder engagement, partnership & networking with multi-stakeholders established.
3.2 At least three alternative livelihood income sources identified and developed for rural ago-industry. Product chain analysis & training farmers on harvesting, processing, packaging, labelling, transportation, marketing and waste management. 50% of households are engaged.
3.3 Farmers are involved in three agroindustry options at competitive market price.
3.4 Business management, good governance & farmer capacity programmes are regularly provided, and external support granted through industry association & government.
Goal 4: Culture ; Culinary Traditions, Urbanization, Spirituality, Ethics
Objective 4: By 2050, about 80% of the farmers have improved food culture by prioritizing organic farming in agrobiodiversity systems at household level firstly for domestic consumption and as a means to improve family diet, health and nutrition, influence change on customary & traditional restrictions on diets, cement food security alternatives. Farmers capacity built in improved food systems for traditional culinary practices & consumption in their daily diet. And through strengthened partnership with relevant key stakeholders the farmers are informed and respecting spiritual connections, food culture ethics, and promoting gender participation.
4.1 Profiling local food crops and production systems, nutritional survey, culinary practices, traditional norms about food systems and diet, and blending food varieties in the recipes for integration in local diet.
4.2 Health and nutrition awareness and training and upscaling across stakeholders and different communities.
4.3 Gender streaming & respecting local food culture and promote integration.
4.4 Improved farming systems: climate smart food variety & crop production system, and blend innovative recipes for inspiring and exciting culinary that nourishes body and soul.
Goal 5: Technology; Artificial Intelligence, Automation, Biotech
Objective 5: By 2050, 80% of the farmers in Lake Kutubu have greater access and availability to affordable innovative technologies and maximizing time and energy efficiency for improving food production in agroindustry or agrobiodiversity food production systems. The farmers received training and awareness in use and application of technologies, for example, energy efficient solar powered technologies for food production, processing and culinary equipment.
5.1 Baseline evaluation of appropriate technology, training needs and linkage to agrobiodiversity food production systems.
5.2 Farmer training & demonstration on improved food crop production utilizing appropriate technologies; crop farming/growing, rearing, harvesting, extraction, processing, packaging, transportation and marketing, waste management, & quality control.
5.3 Research, monitoring & evaluation.
Goal 6: Policy & Governance - Government Policies, Food Safety Regulations, City Mandates, Political Actors, Subsidies, Nutrition Guidelines
Objective 6: By 2050, Lake Kutubu rural farmers is formalized and strengthened to have a voice, actively engaged in policy discussions through Department of Agriculture and Livestock, Department of Commerce Trade and Industry, and leading business partnerships, networking, linking government institutions & private sectors that support farmers and facilitate domestic and international trade.
6.1 Formalize network of farmers through Department of Agriculture & Livestock, and established a partnership agreement with multi-stakeholders enabling networking & creation of market bond with key agroindustries.
6.2 Engaged in Policy discussions/dialogues, training, awareness and education and build farmer network and capacity building programmes.
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