Filipino farmers to plant rice in PNG

Author: DA-AFID | 12 February 2018

Following the meeting between President Duterte and Prime Minister Peter O’ Neill of Papua New Guinea during the 25th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in November 2017, the Department of Agriculture (DA) seeks to establish a rice model farm equipped with modern farming technology in Papua New Guinea (PNG) to help develop its rice industry.

“While it will be a government to government collaboration, a private company will handle the farm. We will provide the capital, technology, equipment and workers,” Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said to PNG Minister Benny Allan of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock during his call on Sec. Piñol on February 7, 2018 at the DA office.

Sec. Piñol further said, the department will send 22 Filipino farmers (2 supervisors and 20 farm workers) to assist on the field trial of five rice varieties from the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice).

“We will make PNG rice self sufficient in a few years. Anything in excess will be exported to the Philippines and its neighboring islands, such as Solomon Islands, Samoa Islands, Vanuatu, Tuvalu, among others.”

To achieve the required quantity, DA proposed to cultivate 100,000 hectares (ha) as production area. As the project evolves, the hectarage will be increased.

Papua New Guinea is a country with 46-million hectares of arable land with only an eight million population and imports about 300,000-400,000 metric tons of rice every year, mostly from Australia. ### (Kristel Merle, DA-AFID)

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