Call for better irrigation systems

National, Normal


PAPUA New Guinea must improve its irrigation and drainage systems to enhance rice production to levels of self-sufficiency and export.
Head of the Taiwan Trade Mission in PNG, Shan-lin Chen, said farmers must be committed to achieving higher yields and sustainable farming techniques must be taught and adopted.
“Efforts will initially be costly but it will pay off in the long-run,” he said last Thursday at a presentation of 100kg of rice seedlings to the Papuavape Association of Ihu in Gulf province, representing 20 coastal and inland farmers.
“Rice is fast becoming a staple diet in urban and most rural PNG, but what is consumed now is imported rice.
“PNG must start farming rice for domestic consumption as its land is conducive for the crop,” Mr Chen said.
The seedlings donated to the farmers were harvested from a 5ha rice experimental station in Bubia, Morobe province, operated by the Taiwan agricultural technical mission the past 19 years.
There are 33 integrated land groups in Ihu covering about 20 coastal and
inland villages.
The villagers started farming rice only a year ago and attracted the mission’s support with good yields.
Commending the support, association vice-president Warnia Hupu said “we took the initiative to venture into farming rice and that shows our commitment”.
“The donation is a major boost to rice growers,” he added.
Mr Chen said the mission had been supporting rice farmers in other parts of the country and sponsors the Morobe Rice Growers that pack rice for domestic consumption.