By Bethanie Harriman – EMTV, Lae
A rice development agreement in Papua New Guinea partnering a Markham Cooperative in the Morobe Province, Trukai Rice and the Morobe Provincial Government is being discussed to start planting rice varieties in the next wet season.
In June, the company and Provincial Government met with a group of people in the Markham district seeking support to source rice and cut back on imports.
Trukai CEO, Greg Worthington-Eyre says Trukai aims to set up trials with rice varieties in the coming wet season.
“We have developed a rice purchasing and development agreement which is currently being discussed with the Provincial Government as a three way agreement between Trukai, the farming group and the Provincial Government for support,” said Worthington.
On 24 June, the company and the Provincial Government met with villagers in the Markham Valley to speak with them about a three-way partnership.
On that day, Morobe Governor Kelly Naru said the partnership Provincial Government supports the arrangement.
“To support them, mobilise and organise the landowners in ILG’s (Integrated Landowner Groups), provide logistics and some funding,” said Governor Naru.
Since 1990 Papua New Guinea has been importing an average of 152,000 tons of rice per year, most of which comes from Asian countries like Vietnam and Thailand, to serve a dedicated PNG consumer market.
Papua New Guinea hopes to become an exporter and not just an importer of rice with projects similar to the Trukai Rice Project.