Sunday, May 20, 2018

Commercial rice production to begin in co-operation with the Philippines

Price of rice to drop when PNG produces rice locally

Ensuring food security for Papua New Guinea into the future has been given a boost through an arrangement that will see hundreds of thousands of hectares of rice planted, and deliver a reduction in the price of rice in the country.
Speaking at the end of an official State Visit to the Republic of the Philippines last week, Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea, Peter O’Neill, said that a memorandum of understanding on agricultural co-operation has been signed that will lead to extensive rice cultivation.
Prime Minister Peter O'Neill speaking at the end of an official State Visit to the Republic of the Philippines

O’Neill said understanding has been reached with Philippines President, Rodrigo Duterte, and his government, to co-operate in the production of rice for the benefit of both countries.
“Food security is essential for the future survival of all countries in the world, because if we cannot find enough food for a fast increasing population everyone will suffer,” he said.
“Papua New Guinea and the Philippines have agreed to work together to enhance the food security for both countries.
“The Philippines will provide technical advice, private sector investment and people to guide our farmers to establish many thousands of hectares of rice production in Papua New Guinea.
“Rice grown at these farms will be sold in the domestic market in Papua New Guinea, and in the long term, rice not required for domestic consumption will be sold to the Philippines at market rates.
“This is an innovative approach to confront the looming problem of food security by drawing on the strengths of each country.
“Papua New Guinea has hundreds of thousands of hectares of fertile land that is suitable for rice production, and the Philippines has the technical knowledge and the investment capital.
“Our soil for rice cultivation has never been commercially farmed, and is rich in nutrient delivering almost twice the yield per hectare of most rice-producing areas in South-East Asia.
“This will be a public private partnership, with the Philippines Government providing technical expertise and facilitating private sector investment.
“The Papua New Guinea Government will provide regulatory support, strengthen relevant infrastructure in farming areas and encourage domestic investment.
“Rice production trials are already underway and the first commercial planting is expected to begin next year.”
O'Neill said the wide-scale production of rice in Papua New Guinea will also see the price of rice fall, as was the case when Papua New Guinea began producing its own fresh milk.
“When our own Papua New Guinea milk hit supermarket shelves this year, it sold at half the price of foreign milk, so the foreigners then also halved their price.
“They had been selling foreign milk at such a high mark-up, and that stopped when locally made milk entered the market.
“Papua New Guinea is standing up for itself against price gouging and market exploitation.
“We will continue to deliver the best results for our communities, we will enhance food security and get fair prices for our people.”
The memorandum of understanding, signed by the agriculture ministers of both countries, forms the basis from which both Governments and relevant stakeholders can advance project arrangements and then sign a memorandum of agreement.
Ministers of agriculture from PNG and Philippines sign the agreement.

O'Neill said the memorandum of agreement will be finalised between before the APEC Leaders’ Summit in Port Moresby in November this year.

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