by Eric Haurupma – EM TV, Port Moresby
While Papua New Guinea continues to depend heavily on imported rice, one rice budding project in the Central province provides a local alternative.
Technical rice planting expert Benjamin Flores, who is attached to the Gabadi Rice Project, says it could become a multi-million kina rice project in the country by 2016. Mr Flores said fertile land has provided an opportunity for large-scale rice farming in the area.
“Rice planting is mechanically done through a spreader attached to a tractor,” he said. “It takes only five minutes for seedlings to be planted over 1.4 hectares of land.”
He added that three quality rice seeds imported from the Philippines and planted include Sunlight 8, 12 and 18H.
These are believed to produce higher yields by harvesting time. For irrigation purposes, a water pump has been pumping out water from the nearby Aroa River. It is transported two kilometres through PVC and distributed via horses attached to a sprinkler system.
In a 7,268 hectare rice field, 180 sprinklers erected have been irrigating 115 rice seedlings.Gabadi landowner Ume Veae said this project provides an opportunity for locals to develop their unused land through sustainable rice farming.
“With its promising end, negotiations are still underway with the national government for this project’s development.”
Eric Haurupma is a UPNG Journalism student.