December 24, 2018
Minister for Agriculture and Livestock, Benny Allan and Philippines Ambassador Dr Bien Tejano witnessed the first harvest of rice at the Pacific Adventist University last Friday.
While most people were rushing to do last minute Christmas shopping, Mr Allan, Dr Tejano, staff, and reporters were at the rice demonstration farm.
Amb Tejano operated the rice harvester with Mr Allan standing observed, to the delight of those present. Both men then assisted in filling up the bags with the harvested rice.
Dr Tejano said the rice harvest from the demonstration farm as more than what was expected and was confident the project will become successful.
After the brief rice harvest demonstration, both Mr Allan and Dr Tejano declared that PNG can grow its own rice and even export to overseas markets.
‘We can grow rice, we are proving that here at PAU. We will eventually move into large scale commercial rice production,” said Mr Allan.
“It’s now proven you have your own locally grown rice,” said Dr Tejano.
Both men thanked the Prime Minister Peter O’Neill for initially discussing the rice project with Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte and following up with the signing of an agreement.
Most recent signing of another agreement for commercial rice farming involving investors was done during the APEC Leader’s Summit between Mr Allan and his Philippines counterpart Emanuel Pinol.Mr Allan thanked all the stakeholders and partners in both government and private sector and the PAU for their cooperation in making the rice demo farm a success. He said 25 hectares of land has been planted with rice and the objective was to conduct hands on training for village farmers as well as encourage rice seedlings for distribution.He said PNG is seriously looking at growing its own rice for domestic consumption and eventually the surplus will be exported to countries like the Philippines. He said the aim was to improve food security and rice was becoming a staple food for many householdes throughout the country.Mr Allan also announced that Cabinet has approved K8 million to be used in funding the current rice demo project and to boost its expansion to other provinces.