Accepted Paper:

Oil palm, cocoa and socio-cultural change in PNG and Indonesia  
Patrick Guinness (Australian National University)

Paper short abstract:

Cocoa and then oil palm have been adopted by the Nakanai of PNG with different consequences. The former led to few changes in socio-cultural behaviours while the latter has brought drastic changes. Comparison is made with the impact of cash crops elsewhere in PNG and in Indonesia.

Paper long abstract:

The Maututu Nakanai are a matrilineal people on the north coast of New Britain, PNG who largely generated their own cocoa cash economy in the 1960s and were then introduced to oil palm production in the 1980s. Though economic impacts have been similar the two crops have had vastly different impacts on the politics, society and culture of village society. This paper examines the modes in which these crops were introduced and are managed, and the roles of government and estate companies in their development. While the local environment, lineage system and village political systems were largely maintained through the cocoa era the replacement of much of that cocoa and the expansion of cash cropping under oil palm has transformed the nature of land ownership, lineage corporality, village and clan leadership and ethnic identity. The paper will compare these processes with cash crop transformations under cocoa in the Gazelle Peninsular of PNG and under oil palm and cocoa in the islands of Kalimantan and Sulawesi in Indonesia

Panel P03
Development interventions both vivifying and mortiferous: replacement, ruination and revitalisation in ecological and cultural systems