By SAMUEL RAITANO
RICE farming should be encouraged by the government as it is one of the potential agricultural activities to boost the economy.
Tokyo-based Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) adviser Kotaro Tanaka, while referring to Morobe and East Sepik, said rice farming was tried out in parts of PNG, where JICA and the Department of Agriculture and Livestock (DAL) had assisted farmers in pilot projects and the results were promising.
Tanaka said it would be wise for the government to utilise revenues from the LNG, which was a non-renewable resource to boost agriculture so that a sustainable investment was made for the future generations.
“The Japanese government will assist in technology and other expertise if the government of Papua New Guinea was keen to embark on this project,” he said.
DAL secretary Anton Benjamin said rice farming was good for the country as it would cut down cost on food imports.
He said though it was new to the country, rice farming was a good option for the country as people in cities were having rice as their staple meal and it would be healthy to produce and consume homegrown rice.
“With the rising cost of living in the cities, the government should look into enhancing such projects so that local produce can be affordable to ordinary Papua New Guineans,” he said.
He added that with the government’s Vision 2050, it would be better to have most of the countries food supply produced from within the country, while budget for imports should focus on other products that could not be produced within the country.