Papua New Guinea imports around 98 percent of the nearly 400,000 kilos of rice the country consumes each year. It is said that only 50,000 hectares of its two million hectares of suitable agricultural lands are required to meet its rice needs.
Andy G. Zapata Jr.
Philippines, Papua New Guinea begin farming cooperation
Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star) - September 13, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Amid a rice shortage the country is facing, the Philippines sent 19 farm technicians to Papua New Guinea to train local farmers under a rice cooperation agreement between the two countries.

Papua New Guinea imports around 98 percent of the nearly 400,000 kilos of rice the country consumes each year. It is said that only 50,000 hectares of its two million hectares of suitable agricultural lands are required to meet its rice needs.

The Philippines and Papua New Guinea held a successful groundbreaking of a 25-hectare rice demonstration farm on the grounds of the Pacific Adventist University (PAU) on Aug. 24.

The Philippines’ Departments of Agriculture and Foreign Affairs, through the Philippine embassy in Port Moresby, enabled the sending of 19 Filipino farm technicians and tax-free supplies and equipment to Port Moresby for the clearing, ploughing, irrigation and planting of the initial rice seeds of the demo farm. 

The research of appropriate rice varieties for Papua New Guinea and the training of local farmers are intended to start larger scale projects and investments. It is being readied for showcase during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Port Moresby in November 2018.

Papua New Guinea Deputy Prime Minister Charles Abel, Department of Agriculture and Livestock Minister Benny Allen, Central Provincial Governor Robert Agarobe, and Philippine Ambassador to Papua New Guinea Bienvenido Tejano delivered their remarks before proceeding together to the rice paddies for the ribbon-cutting and ceremonial planting of rice seeds.

In Papua New Guinea’s Vision 2050, rice imports are projected to triple as the country reaches 22 million in population. Its government is now focusing policies towards rice sufficiency and the overall strengthening of its agricultural sector for food security.

The Philippines joined the European Union, Australia and Israel in supporting Papua New Guinea’s agricultural policy with assistance targeted at training and production of specific crops such as rice, cacao and high-value vegetables. 

Southeast Asian countries sent students to the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the University of the Philippines in Los Baños, and these countries are now exporting rice to the Philippines.

AGRICULTURE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE FARMING INTERNATIONAL RICE RESEARCH INSTITUTE
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