The agriculture sector employs 85% of Papua New Guinea’s population and accounts for approximately 30% of the national gross domestic product. As the majority of PNG receives more than 2500 mm of rainfall annually, both subsistence and commercial farming is rainfed. Primary cultivated crops include sweet potatoes, taro, yam, cassava, banana, breadfruit, sugarcane, and aibika, while a diverse range of vegetables are produced for local consumption, including pumpkins, corn, carrots, peppers, beans, and tomatoes. The main cash crops are coffee, copra, cocoa, tea, rubber, and oil palm. Higher temperatures resulting from climate change will result in more heat stress and increased humidity with negative consequences for agricultural production. Rising temperatures could lead to faster rates of crop deterioration after harvesting, with significant implications for food security. Increased temperatures and humidity will facilitate the spread of pests and vector-borne diseases, and time for crops to mature will shorten with dire consequences on overall yield. Increased incidences of landslides and floods can cause loss of soil fertility, thereby affecting agricultural yields, while an increased incidence of drought could mean increased evapotranspiration and water stress on crops. Salt-water intrusion into agricultural lands can also affect food production. All of these impacts can increase the country’s reliance on (often unhealthy) imported goods, and income generated from agricultural production will be lost with significant implications for millions of households.
This section provides insights into the climate change impacts on agricultural productivity indicators and the trends in agriculture related socio-economic indicators.