Over K300mil spent on rice imports yearly, Bang says


RICE is becoming a staple food in the country as more than K300 million is being spent annually on rice imports, National Agricultural Research Institute (Nari) director-general Dr Sergie Bang,says.
Bang made this comments yesterday at a solar rice mill project workshop at the Nari headquarters in Lae.
“About 250 tonness of rice is imported annually at a cost of more than K300 million over the years so Papua New Guineans are encouraged to plant more rice in the country to counter that.”
Bang acknowledged that the newly formed government has looked at increasing rice production in the country.
“Deputy Prime Minister Charles Abel and Minister for National Planning and Monitoring Richard Maru have stressed increasing local rice production. We have to plant our own rice for personal consumption and trade,” Bang said.
He said rice could easily be grown and processed in the country as we have large amounts of unused land. Large quantities of rice can be grown in areas like the Sepik plains, and the Baiyer, Ramu and Markham valleys.
Bang highlighted that the introduction of solar powered rice mills could boost the production in the country.
“Nari has partnered with Trukai Industries to increase rice production in Morobe. So far 70 solar powered rice mills are in place and would be distributed across the province to assist rice farmers in producing their rice,” he said