Minister reveals plans for rice industry

Business, Normal

The National, Monday April 20th, 2015

 THE primary objective of the new PNG Rice Policy 2015–30 is for the country to achieve 100 per cent self-sufficiency in rice by 2030, Agriculture and Livestock Minister Tommy Tomscoll (pictured) says. 

He said it was estimated that by 2030, Papua New Guinea’s domestic rice consumption demand would be more than 300,000 tonnes.

“The Government is driven by the apparent global decline in rice production and exports,” Tomscoll said.

“The lack of domestic large-scale rice production to match the population growth and rice consumption needs of PNG people.

“The opportunity to make use of unused arable land to grow rice which can be grown successfully in PNG for food security, food shortage emergencies and for exports.”  As such, Tomscoll said it was important that existing rice importers needed to obtain forms and register themselves and their interest so they could secure and legitimise their rice import quota allocations.

“This is important because under the O’Neill Government’s national rice policy, existing rice importers will only be allowed a certain percentage share of total rice imports for the next two years, while the Government will use the rest as incentive to attract and retain investment for a large scale mechanised commercial irrigated farming along an economic corridor,” he said.

Tomscoll said successful large scale investors would of course need to put up K200 million to offset any short-falls in rice imports over the first two years to qualify for pioneer status. 

If granted pioneer status by the National Government, they would be granted appropriate and relevant incentives, protection and concessions to establish and develop rice in a large scale. 

“The protections and incentives are to assist the investor as a new player entering into the high risk, low value end of the rice business in PNG and to assist in building a brand name and customer base, 

and building meaningful relationships based on non-price factors such as product quality, service, patented features, environmental and civic involvement,” Tomscoll said.