by Quinton Alomp – EM TV, Port Moresby
Papua New Guinea has potential to be a rice exporting nation, says Philippines Ambassador to PNG, Bien Tejano.
The vast grassland, rich soil and lesser population compared to Philippines, makes PNG an ideal place to farm rice.
Mr Tejano said when he first arrived in PNG, he saw the rich landscape and had a dream of making PNG a rice producing nation.
“Before I go back to Philippines, I want to leave a legacy behind by making PNG a rice producing nation. Hopefully Philippines can be an importer of PNG rice,” Ambassador Tejano said.
The Philippines Embassy is assisting Village Gardening, the developer of the Gabadi Hybrid Rice Project in Kairuku, Central province, to make this pilot project successful.
Two rice specialists from the Philippines arrived last Friday and will assist the farmers at the project site.
Trade Commerce and Industry Minister, Richard Maru said many rice projects in the past have failed and he challenged Village Gardening to make this one a success.
“Despite repeated claims by so called rice experts [saying] PNG cannot develop a profitable and sustainable rice industry, I am convinced the Gabadi pilot hybrid rice development project must be supported with fiscal and other incentives to grow.
“The government fully supports this initiative but first prove to us that you are different from other rice growers – you can make it successful.” Minister Maru said.
PNG spends over K500 million on rice imports quarterly.