Case study: Behavioural change for better nutrition in Papua New Guinea

Philmah Seta-Waken, Tania Paul

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Paper published in Proceedingspeer-review


    There is a decline in the consumption of traditional vegetables in PNG, which adversely affects family nutrition and is increasing the rates of malnutrition and obesity. Traditional vegetables are climatically adapted to PNG, require lower inputs, and are superior in food value when compared to globally popular vegetables. They have more essential nutrients, and historically provided a large proportion of the daily protein, vitamin and mineral intake in the village diet. Turning around the decline in consumption and supply of traditional vegetables will improve food and nutritional security. This is particularly true for remote and isolated communities and poor urban populations. Our research found that people lacked awareness of the nutritional value of traditional vegetables. People consider these vegetables to be ‘backward’ and ‘poverty’ food. Conversely, traditional vegetables connect strongly to culture and ‘home’. We trained smallholder farmers to manage pests and diseases and save the seeds of traditional vegetables to reduce their input costs. We worked with families and communities to increase their awareness of the nutritional value of traditional vegetables. We trained families in gardening and cooking so they could grow and cook a variety of nutritious food from their own gardens. We created fresh recipes for local vegetables. Next, we plan to work with maternal–child clinics linked to hospitals where mothers learn to make nutritious cheap food from their own gardens. We will run schoolbased programs involving teacher education, school gardens and incentivebased lunchboxes. Some growers have applied their seed-saving skills to setting up small-scale seed businesses.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationReshaping agriculture for better nutrition: the agriculture, food, nutrition, health nexus
    Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the Crawford Fund 2018 Annual Conference
    EditorsA Milligan
    Place of PublicationCanberra
    PublisherThe Crawford Fund
    Number of pages7
    ISBN (Electronic)978-0-9953679-3-7
    ISBN (Print)978-0-9953679-3-7
    Publication statusPublished - 13 Aug 2018
    Event2018 Annual Parliamentary Conference: Reshaping Agriculture for Better Nutrition - Parliament House, Canberra, Australia
    Duration: 13 Aug 201814 Aug 2018
    Conference number: 2018


    Conference2018 Annual Parliamentary Conference
    Internet address


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