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24 August 2014


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Thanks tupla for your comments. They were truly thought provoking but also soothing.

Here is a quote I stole from the Dalai Lama posted yesterday on my google circle:

"The idea of one side suffering defeat while the other side triumphs is out of date. Instead we have to develop dialogue. We have to make an effort if we want a peaceful, more compassionate world.

"It requires education, based on patience, tolerance and forgiveness. Too often violence results from greed, so we also need contentment and self-discipline".

Loved your comment Michael!

My dad was a great backyard gardener and produced a lot of good food during the war years.

There are still many backyard gardeners today in Australia. They may not produce all the food a family needs but there are some that do a great job.

I just wish PNG would start growing rice again. I saw plenty of dry rice up in the Maprik area in the 1970s. There are plenty of Asian people who could teach you how to do it.

Thanks Obed for clarifying your stand, which is perhaps overly optimistic but nonetheless a brave assertion.

While I have reservations myself about the term 'subsistence' farming, I also believe that some form of subsistence living will remain a globally important means of livelihood for the forseeable future.

To assume that everyone in the whole wide world will gain paid employment is perhaps stretching the reality of environment, economy and human society a bit too far. (We may hope for better, but what works best is usually what we have to arrive at.)

PNG may be a micricosm of the world at large, in this agricultural scene.

It is worth pointing out that even in oil rich Middle East nations herders still thrive in areas far from the shadow of modern sky scrapers. They face challenges which are not dissimilar to many small-scale farmers and herders in other nations.

The lesson here may be that we need to be wary about setting unrealistic objectives for the direction we want to take as opposed to the path that we are able to follow.

Perhaps 'sustainable' living is a better term, since it encapsulates the need to survive and thrive within economuc and environmental limitations.

On the other hand I do agree that subsistence livelihoods should be supported and the people enabled so that if they so choose, and indeed need to do so, they may take part in the cash economy.

This is apparent in local markets along the roadside in PNG. And the same type of local producer-marketeer systems are a characteristic part of many thriving economies in other develping countries.

I believe some degree of respect should be accorded to subsistence farmers, since in essence we in the modern economy don't do all that much for them and there is a cultural link within our societies based on this lifestyle.

Morover, subsistence farming is the most fundamental means of survival for households and human populations. Civilisations developed around it, not the other way around.

That is a fact that needs to be understood completely if PNG is going follow its own path of development.

Agrarian societies built or supported some of the oldest and most successful civilisations in human history.

The Mayans and Incas ate corn and used gold for all kinds of stuff before the Conquistadors arrived.

Now gold may be the basis of currency but the price of corn grain can cripple an economy.

In PNG our ancestors were the first to domesticate banana, sugarcane and aibika and dug garden trenches which are still visible today. We domesticated the pig 5000 years ago, well before Australia was colonised or indeed the British empire existed. But today we import cheap pork meat cuts from Oz.

I agree that we can do better and more to raise livibg standards. But it is by enabling people to improve their own livelihoods that this may be achieved.

Technology, even agricultural, as history has shown us, is not a silver bullet. It is merely one means of assisting people and society on the pathway to development.

This development also needs to be sustainable. And that is an objective which is not far removed from those of subsistence farmers the world over.

We all know the Millennium Development Goals are flawed also.

Why don't the developed countries practice gardening for their own SME sector and not flood our agricultural food markets with their imported stuff that puts our local producers at loss.

We the people of PNG have lived the gardening life for centuries and it is time that we broke away from this cycle. The cycle of anarchism.

Village life will not make this country into a better and unified nation if it has to practice democracy.

It is also not within all our intention that we live the subsistence way of life forever. Time's have changed and people change

Mercantile would argue that SMEs not supported with the collective effort of the human population would make labor more intensive.

If people could be innovative and more hostile to change, gardening would not be the solution to progress and development. Because gardening is not the way of living any more, technology is.

SMEs, the human sector and technology are inevitably intertwined in this millennium.

I wouldn't be surprised if PNG become a forming capitalist nation in the near future, only if it wasn't for the burgeoning conventions of the UN and the developed nations.

That is a major flaw. Thanks Barbara.

I think the flaw in this article is that you do not realize that SMEs should include agriculture.

The small market garden, producing a good regular supply of fruit and vegetables for the markets in the towns and cities, is the perfect SME.

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