Prime Minister Peter O’Neill today brushed aside rumours of the 40 per cent price increase of rice in the domestic market.
PM O’Neill told parliament despite an increase in importing rice, control measures are in place for the population to afford the retail price.
“We have a desire to grow more rice in our country and we need to work hard at this,” the Prime Minister said after the issue was raised in parliament today.
“As a country we rely too much on rice imports, from Australia and from Asia that is sold in Papua New Guinea. We want to have a large scale and commercially viable rice production sector in our country that will meet the demands of our people.
“Maintaining food security is of great importance for all countries around the world and Papua New Guinea must not be dependent on rice imports.
“We have had enough experimenting, we want to grow rice in Papua New Guinea now, and we will create an environment were rice will be grown here,” the Prime Minister said.
“We have a quota system in our country and this is being managed by the Department of Agriculture. Cabinet has not made a firm decision on any revision to the quota system but it is clear what must be done.
“Rice companies must know that if they do not grow rice in our country you will not get quota.
“If these companies do not invest in rice production they will not get a quota.
“We are developing a fair and level playing field in which we can have a competitive rice production industry,” he said.
The Prime Minister made this statement following questions raised by Northern Governor, Gary Juffa, over rumours of a new developer partnering the government to produce rice.