Producing our own rice a priority

Letters, Normal

The National, Tuesday 07th Febuary 2012

PLEASE allow me to call on our decision makers that there is an urgent need to promote large scale domestic rice production to provide food security for the six million Papua New Guineans.
Some shallow arguments from NRI and ICCC should not be subscribed to by anyone when it comes to food security, especially when rice has become a staple food.
We are importing some 1.5 million tonnes of rice annually at the value of about K500 million.
If the current sources are affected by natural or manmade disasters, can you imagine what will happen to almost every house in PNG who depend on rice?
PNG has taken for granted the monopoly distribution network set up by Trukai Industries for the last 40 years by using imported rice from Australia, Thailand and Vietnam.
Trukai has failed to use its profits to venture into large-scale domestic rice production to date, thus placing PNG food security at risk.
Something must be done to promote large-scale rice production sooner rather than later.
If Indonesia, with a little land mass, can grow rice and feed its 200 million people as the Philippines with its 100 million people, what is stopping PNG from feeding its six million people from domestically cultivated rice and circulating the K500 million in the economy annually?
It is unfortunate that NRI used the cheap comparison between InterOil and ExxonMobil.
I get annoyed when our learned experts make shallow analysis between food security and energy matters.

Port Moresby