GriffithUniversity researchers are helping Papua New Guinea’s (PNG)emerginggalipnut industry to give marginalised women an income and encourage planting trees.
Professor Helen Wallace from the Centre for Planetary Health and Food Security is leading a diverse team of science, agribusiness and social research experts from both Australia and PNG, including partners from the University and the National Agricultural Research Institute, to expand private sector investmentin theCanariumindicumorgalipnut.
“Globally the nut sector is growing aroundfive per centeach yeardriven byveganism and the health benefits of eatingplant-based protein,” Professor Wallace said.
“But onlyfivetypes of nutsmake up 90% of global trade and we want to add thegalipnut into the mix.”
More than80%ofgalipnut suppliers in PNG are small-hold farmers relying on family labour and live in very remote locations with little access to distant markets.
Thegalipnut, which resembles an almond when peeled, can bedried, stored andshipped to distant markets making it an ideal cash crop.
Professor Wallace says in PNG looking after galip nut is traditionally women’s work and women havereallybenefited fromthis growingindustry.
“They are involved across the supply chain, from cultivation and harvesting to processing and selling. By scaling up the market we will empower even more women to participate.”
Professor Wallace led the initialproject to establish a pilot factory andtested a range of technologies forcanariumnut processing.
“Working with key partnersin the government and private sector, we’ve seensupply triple andgrow to a farm gate value of $100,000 AUD in just three years. But there’s more work to be done.
“Other investors have used our research to set up their own operation and started buying from farmers. This means more income for thousands of farmers in PNG, and also encourages people to keep native galip trees in their gardens and forests.”
Professor Wallace says thedecentralised supply network makes collecting large volumes of product difficult. Her team willtestmore efficient harvest and collection systems.
“The industry will also benefit from moving towards buying nut-in-shell rather than the current arrangementwhere most of the product iswasted.Small-scale entrepreneursare set to benefit out of this move.”
A formal market has been established in Port Moresbyselling packaged natural, roasted and peeled products into supermarkets and duty free stores, and private investors are cautiously but optimistically approaching the industry.
“There’s a lot of strong interest in thegalipnut industry with many keen to be involved in an indigenous product made in PNG with significant economic benefits for smallholder farmers.
“Our job is to provide stronger evidence of the commercial viability of large scalecanariumnut processing and pathways to domestic and international markets.”