Project To Identify Less Participation Of Women As Entrepreneurs

The socio-economic unit of the Coffee Industry Corporation is embarking on a four year project which aims to develop new knowledge of the factors that explain women’s low level of engagement in small-scale agricultural enterprises.

The ACIAR (Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research) funded project, titled “Identifying opportunities and constraints for rural women’s engagement in small-scale agricultural enterprises in PNG”, will focus on highlighting enabling factors and key pathways and improving the capacity of women to engage in successful enterprises in agribusiness through better access to networks and business development services.

This was presented at a recent inception meeting for all partners held on January 27th in Aiyura, Eastern Highlands Province.

The research project will partner with five different organisations – PNG Oil Palm Research Association (PNG-OPRA), PNG Cocoa Coconut Institute, PNG University of Technology, CARE International and Curtin University.

Project Leader, Dr. Gina Koczberski, highlighted that PNG ranked 134 out of 148 countries on the Gender Inequality Index (GII), and is one of the countries that did not meet the 2015 Millennium Development Goal targets set for the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Dr Kczberski added that women are central to family livelihoods and wellbeing in rural PNG.

“Whilst research among smallholder households has demonstrated the important role of women in the production and sale of agricultural produce, few studies have focused on the opportunities or barriers to women engaging more strongly in the agricultural sector, especially as managers of small-scale agricultural enterprises.”

The project spans across three main export cash crop sectors of coffee, cocoa and oil palm and the domestic fresh food produce sector, with each project partner carrying out a specific research component of the project.

Research & Growers Services Division General Manager Dr Mark Kenny welcomed the project saying it was vital to have researches done into barriers affecting farmers at the ground level, and more importantly women as managers of income earned.

The project has commenced last month and field work is expected to be carried out in the course of the project in West New Britain, East New Britain, Bougainville, Eastern Highlands Province and Morobe Provinces.

The research will be conducted among rural women/households and private and public sector organisations across the main export commodity crop industries and the fresh food produce sector in PNG.

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