A development expert is supporting the call for more recognition of the strengths of the traditional Melanesian economy by regional governments.
The call came from Vanuatu MP Ralph Regenvanu who says the country suffered little from the global economic crisis because most of its population is maintained by the subsistence economy.
Similarly the rural-based populations of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands are mainly fed and housed by the traditional system.
Vijay Naidu of the University of the South Pacific's Centre for Development Studies says this system is worth close scrutiny.
"The dominant economic system pushed by profit-making has actually undermined the planet as a whole so these traditional modes of livelihoods based on agriculture and horticulture have existed in the region for thousands of years and they have - generally speaking - been sustainable and ecologically sound systems."