Plans to cut down rice imports

04.10.2017

It will take at least five years for Papua New Guinea to start producing its own rice for export and feed for its eight million people.

This is according to Agriculture and Livestock Minister, Benny Allan.

He noted that at present, the PNG Government spends about K600 million a year on rice imports, and there are now plans to cut down on this despite consumption of rice increasing five percent every year.

Mr Allan, in his response to Menyamya MP, Thomas Pelika, said there are at least five companies that are in the process of producing rice locally – one of which is Naime Rice.

Mr Allan was taken to task by Mr Pelika during Question Time in Parliament last week about the government’s plans to have rice grown locally and help with job creation for provinces like Menyamya.

Mr Allan said that there are still some legal issues to sort out before the K7 billion Naime Rice takes its place and starts full operation, especially the quota and tax concession.

“Rice has become a staple food for Papua New Guineans, and PNG’s biggest importer of rice is Trukai Industries Ltd, which is a big player,” he said.

“There are 300,000 tons a year, and we spend more than K500 million on rice annually, and this government since last year is trying to have rice grown locally in PNG,” he said.

“In the rice industry in PNG, Trukai has been in the country for more than 47 years and holds more than 80 percent of the market. Trukai has started planting rice in the Markham Valley – 400 hectares involving the local people there, with support of the local member and will expand from 2000 hectares, and we expect to harvest about 20,000 tons,” Mr Allan said.

“We want to encourage all players to grow rice locally. We have other players coming on board – there’s one, Homestate, and we have new interest also from Naime, which is trying to do rice production in Central. We have an agreement in place, and we are looking at that agreement closely.

“There are two issues raised, quota and tax concession, that we are looking at. Once done, we will have Naime on board. We want to encourage more local production. In terms of rice, we are already getting growers with an aim to increase local production.”


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