Data from a 1990-96 nationwide study of Papua New Guinea systems - the Mapping Agricultural Systems in PNG study (MASP) - is used to re-examine Brookfield with Hart's (1971) findings on the association between agricultural intensity and population density in Papua New Guinea. A significant association exists between these variables, both within the MASP data, and within the agricultural systems examined by Brookfield with Hart, when the MASP data is applied to them. However, a large amount of variation exists in the data. Systems in which 'mismatches' occur between population density and agricultural intensity are found to be associated with small island environments, the substitution of purchased food for locally produced food, migration and high levels of child malnutrition. Child malnutrition may be one of the consequences of a failure to innovate and thus maintain food production. It is argued that Boserup's (1965) model of agricultural transformation and Brookfield's past work on intensification which he now downplays, continue to provide valuable insights into agricultural change in contemporary Papua New Guinea.
|Asia Pacific Viewpoint
|Published - 2001