Subsistence food production in Melanesia

Mike Bourke

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    Subsistence food production continues to provide much of the food consumed in Papua New Guinea (PNG), West Papua, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. There are many common elements in traditional food production in the several Melanesian political units. Most Melanesians are rural villagers and their most important food is some combination of sweet potato, Colocasia taro, yam, Xanthosoma taro and banana. The most common technique used to restore soil fertility after cropping is natural fallows, with fallow vegetation being burnt in the new garden area. Food crops which have been adopted in many parts of Melanesia include sweet potato, Xanthosoma taro, cassava, maize, African yam, pumpkin and numerous vegetables and fruits. The signs of stress on food production that have appeared on small islands and in some New Guinea highland locations in recent decades are likely to become more widespread in the future.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Melanesian World
    Editors Eric Hirsch and Will Rollason
    Place of PublicationNew York
    Edition1st Edition
    ISBN (Print)978-1-138-69371-5
    Publication statusPublished - 2019


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