Farmers in Morobe embracing home-grown rice

Business

THE Chingwam Rice Growers Cooperative says it is venturing into rice farming because its members are tired of eating imported rice.
Group chairman Michael Maran said the group of more than 200 people decided to grow their own rice without waiting for government support because they were tired of buying imported rice from the shops.
The Chingwam rice farm is in Ragiampun area in the Umi-Atzera local level government of Markham district in Morobe.
The Markham Plain is known for its large scale agricultural activities including livestock grazing.
Maran said when Trukai went into rice research and development, they agreed to partner with the company in commercial rice production.
“We have been growing rice for a number of years. We have seen that there was no government support so we asked Trukai for machinery and technical assistance,” Maran said.
He said the quality of home-grown rice was better than the imported ones.
“The ones we grow are organic,” he said.
Maran said for commercial scale production, they did a trial last year by planting 10 hectares of rice.
“In the first harvest we got 30 tonnes. Then we planted 40 hectares and we harvested 140 tonnes,” he said.
Maran said they were planting 500 hectares of the Dongara rice which would be harvested early next year.
“Trukai is paying us 70toea per kilo for rice on the field. The money is paid directly to the cooperative which later distributes to the farmers,” he said.
Maran said they also grew cocoa, coconut and peanut as cash crops. But the money they are making from rice farming is more, and there is a fixed market for rice.
“Our first payment was almost K30,000. Now we have received K90,000 and we hope to make more when we harvest our third lot of yields,” Maran said.

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