PHL to help Papua New Guinea develop rice industry

The Philippines is looking to seal a deal with Papua New Guinea (PNG) to establish a rice model farm equipped with modern farming technology in 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 during a meeting with PNG Minister Benny Allan of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock on February 7 at the Department of Agriculture office.

The agriculture chief said 22 Filipino farmers, composed of 2 supervisors and 20 farm workers, will be sent to PNG 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,” Piñol said.

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.