By Vasinatta Yama, EMTV News– Mt Hagen
The partnership between Mul-Baiyer Lumusa Electorate and Trukai Industries Limited has seen the inaugural harvesting of rice in the Baiyer Valley of Western Highlands Province.
It is their trial project, growing 10 hectares of rice in just four months.
Agriculture and Livestock Minister, Benny Allan, says such projects will reduce the importing of rice.
Five hectares of rice was harvested yesterday in the Baiyer Valley.
It is expected to produce 20 tonnes of rice, which will be transported to Trukai’s manufacturing plant in Lae to be processed.
This trial project was to test different varieties of rice that can be grown on a commercial scale in Baiyer Valley.
Baiyer Valley has the potential to grow rice on a larger scale.
This project complements Trukai Industries Markham Valley Rice Corridor, which isalready harvesting, processing and selling its Hamamas Rice in stores.
Mul Baiyer MP, Koi Trappe requested for Trukai to save the cost of transporting rice to Lae, by processing and packaging the Baiyer Valley Rice, in Baiyer.
Locals will also be tasked to allocate their land to grow rice and sell it back to Trukai to benefit from this project.
Rice has already become a staple for PNG, and each year 400, 000 tonnes of rice is imported to PNG.
Agriculture and Livestock Minister, Benny Allen, said K600 Million is spent every year.
Growing rice locally will reduce this annual cost.
Once the Baiyer Valley Rice project is up and running, 41 per cent of the income will go to the Mul Baiyer Lumusa District Development Authority.
Hagen Open MP, William Duma was also present at the inaugural harvesting yesterday, and he encouraged locals to support the project and supply the people of Highlands Region with their rice.