Smallholder farmers can expect more government support in the promotion of rice production in the rural communities.
This follows the recent signing of phase two of the Smallholder Rice Promotion Project between the Department of Agriculture and Livestock, and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
|Benjamin (right) Tsuji (centre) and Samuel congratulate each other after the signing of project documents.|
The three-and-a-half-years project, starting this month, will cost around K7.2 million.
The project is a follow on from phase one (1) which had been successfully implemented from 2003 to 2008, particularly in the Madang and East Sepik provinces.
The purpose of the project is smallholder rice farming extension by applying and improving the model farmer approach and its support system in the target provinces.
Under the project, the three main activities will be to improve the implementation structure of rice extension services of model farmer approach and its support system, by conducting supplementary training for model farmers and improving the monitoring system.
Other activities will be to improve the existing mechanical milling services of public and private milling service stations, and to strengthen the implementation of rice policies by DAL’s Food Security Branch and Rice Extension Unit.
DAL acting secretary Anton Benjamin said during the signing held recently that the project has already made an impact in the provinces where it was trialled and he was confident that it would bring more success to other areas.
The project in utilising the model farmer approach will enhance rice production in the rural communities where rice is becoming a main food staple for village households.
He said DAL and relevant agencies were committed to working with JICA to promote smallholder rice production and thanked JICA for helping to address some of the constraints affecting rice development in PNG.
JICA resident representative, Takashi Tsuji, said he was pleased to participate in the signing of the agreement and stressed that JICA would continue its efforts to support the PNG government in promoting smallholder rice.
He said the concept had proven that model farmer approach was sustainable, and it was also aligned to the PNG government policies including Vision 2050.
He wished DAL and its stakeholders every success in implementing the project saying JICA would provide much-needed technical advisory support services and hopefully many rural farmers could benefit.
Department of National Planning and Monitoring’s acting FAS – FAD, Koney Samuel, who also signed the document, reaffirmed the government’s commitment with counterpart funding to be provided.