Pigs, an Indication of Wealth and Status in PNG

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For Christina Yamba, pigs are serious business. She comes from a long line of women who have raised pigs over generations for various purposes. For her, it is a lucrative income source.

“I look after pigs for sale. I feed them with kaukau and feed. Large pigs are sold for K5000.”

During election time, the price of pigs rise as candidates come looking for gifts to woo voters and build alliances before the polling happens.

It has become standard practice as ancient customs are blended with 21st century politics in Papua New Guinea.

Christine explains, candidates don’t come looking to buy small pigs. .

“Election people don’t want small pigs,” she says. “We don’t sell small pigs worth K1000. People want them.”

During the 2012 elections, Christine made K15,000 from the sale of three pigs. Each pig was bought for K5,000 by intending politicians.

For this election, she will not be selling any of her pigs. They are still too small. A pig worth K1,000 just is not good enough for Western Highlands politics.


Scott Waide

is the Lae Bureau Chief and began his career with EMTV in 1997 as a News and Sports Reporter and Anchor and has been a media professional for over 19 years. Having previously worked as a Producer and Researcher for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Port Moresby Bureau, he is a recipient of multiple awards including the Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union Prize in 2005 in Iran for best news feature, the Pacific Island News Association Award and the Divine Word University Media Freedom Award.

Scott Waide

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