Envoy calls on PNG to grasp the moment and grow its own rice

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PAPUA New Guinea cannot continue to ignore the fact that it can grow enough rice to meet local demand and export the surplus, Philippines Ambassador Bien Tejano says.
Tejano told The National in Port Moresby yesterday that local conditions would suit rice farming followingthe successful outcomes of a demonstration rice farm at 14-Mile outside Port Moresby.
The demonstration farm was established through a partnership between the Philippines and PNG governments. Tejano said the partnership agreement between the two countries would be for five years and it was important that PNG grasped the opportunity and made it happen quickly as his country was ready to help with technical assistance.
“From our demo rice farm at 14-Mile, we harvested around 9.5 tonnes of rice per hectare,” he said.
“That is very amazing and extraordinary because in the Philippines, you will harvest three, four tonnes per hectare.
“But look at PNG, it’s almost 10 tonnes per hectare and that is something PNG cannot continue to ignore, the fact that it can grow enough rice to meet local demand and export surplus overseas.”
He said rice alone could change PNG’s economy, create unprecedented employment opportunities and put money into the pockets of simple villagers.
“Every year, PNG is spending around K600 to K800 million importing rice,” Tejano said. “This money can be retained in the country and more can be brought into the country from rice production and export.”