By GYNNIE KERO
MORE than 70 families in Yangoru-Saussia, East Sepik are focusing on rice farming to generate income and as the staple food for their meals.
MP Richard Maru was impressed with the families’ efforts so far and promised to provide a rice mill for them.
“Today, 73 families are involved in rice farming, with each family member having his or her own plot,” he said.
“They cultivate the dry land rice variety tabash mati from India.
“From planting to harvest takes four months.”
He said for one family, five cups of seedlings could produce 500 kilogrammes of rice selling at K7 a kg.
“The beauty is that the rice is 100 per cent organic, produced by small family farmers and does not leave any negative environmental footprint,” he said.
“The rice is cultivated for family consumption and to sell.
“It is cultivated alongside traditional crops such as yam, taro, banana and cassava.”
Maru said the milling and packaging machines will be provided by the district development authority so that the farmers should not have to take their rice harvests to the mills in Angoram.
“Rice is now a staple food for PNG yet 85 per cent of our rice is imported with an import value of over K600 million per year,” Maru said. “Our strategy is to support family rice farming at the start, and then venture into scientific research into soil fertility, plant health issues, variety trials, climatic conditions, to help us make informed decisions for large-scale commercial rice farming in the future.”
By GYNNIE KERO