[permaculture] Re: subsistence/yield

permed at nor.com.au permed at nor.com.au
Mon Feb 4 06:04:00 EST 2002


>The things listed are all constraints on the viability of subsistence
>lifestyles. In the late 90s I visited a project that the NGO I worked for
>was supporting in PNG. That was the time of the El Nino drought.  What I
>found on the road journey from Lae to Mt Hagen was a variable patchwork of
>conditions in the valleys of the Central Highlands... some appeared green,
>others dry, others burned. It was worse just over the Iran Jaya (West Papua)
>border in Indonesian territory - there, the Australian Air Force was
>carrying out the air lift of emergency food and supplies to the villages...
>Port Moresby airfield was a parking lot for RAAF and NZRAF transport
>aircraft.

I wonder if the 'commercial' farmers in these areas had more or less to 
eat than their subsistence neighbours?

After I taught a PDC in Bali in 1994, one of the participants was 
frustrated that the locals weren't interested. A few years later when the 
Indonesian economy collapsed, their rupiahs worth nothing and their 
cashcrops worth even less they came to him asking what was that you were 
talking about a few years ago - we need to feed our families....

When we talk about economic viability of farming it's really a very 
elastic subject to quantify. Some years back at an Ag Dept meeting it was 
stated that nearly 50% of family farms only survive because the wife 
works in town to keep the family fed, clothed and educated.

Robyn



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