Sago production in a New Guinea economy

TitleSago production in a New Guinea economy
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1974
AuthorsTownsend, PK
JournalHuman Ecology
Date PublishedJuly 1974
Keywordsagricultural productivity; hunter-gatherer; labor productivity; Melanesia; palms; Papua New Guinea; pith; sago palm; starches; swamps; swine

The techniques used by the Sanio-Hiowe of Papua New Guinea to produce edible starch from the sago palm (Metroxylon sp.) are described. Input-output analysis demonstrates that this is a highly productive subsistence technology; nevertheless, the Sanio-Hiowe economy is characterized by an absence of intensification. This is ascribed to functional consequences of dependence on hunting and gathering in the interior. In coastal and riverine habitats, other societies using sago supplemented by fishing or horticulture can more fully exploit the potential of sago as a basis for economic intensification and a more sedentary life.

Research Notes

ArticleType: research-article
Full publication date: Jul., 1974
Copyright © 1974 Plenum Publishing Corporation

Journal Abbreviation

Human Ecology



Collection Topic: