PB11 Estimated impact of drought and frost on food supply in rural PNG in 2015

Development Policy Centre Policy Brief No. 11

By Mike Bourke, Bryant Allen and Michael Lowe

January 2016

Since April 2015, much of rural Papua New Guinea (PNG) has been severely impacted by a severe drought and, at a number of very high altitude locations above 2200 m altitude, by repeated frosts. The El Niño drought has had a major impact on water supply in many parts of PNG, with negative impacts on school operations, women’s labour and villagers’ health. In many locations, subsistence food supply has been affected.

This brief uses a wide variety of reports to assess the impact of the drought on food supply for rural villagers for the whole of PNG at the Local Level Government Area (LLGA) level. We have assembled over 200 reports, of which about 75% contained useable information on food supply. These have been generated from August to December 2015. Reports included a number of formal assessments done by the National Disaster Centre, some churches, NGOs and provincial authorities; detailed local assessments; semi-formal and casual communications; and press and social media reports. The methods used in the assessments differed to some degree. We assembled the reports in a database and allocated a five-point scale for food supply for each location.

Bourke, R.M., Allen, B. & Lowe, M. 2016, ‘Estimated impact of drought and frost on food supply in rural PNG in 2015’, Policy Brief No. 11, Development Policy Centre, Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University, Canberra.

Ashlee Betteridge

Ashlee Betteridge was the Manager of the Development Policy Centre until April 2021. She was previously a Research Officer at the centre from 2013-2017. A former journalist, she holds a Master of Public Policy (Development Policy) from ANU and has development experience in Indonesia and Timor-Leste. She now has her own consultancy, Better Things Consulting, and works across several large projects with managing contractors.