Rice tops agenda for PM’s visit

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DISCUSSIONS on rice production will be high on Prime Minister Peter O’Neill’s agenda during his State visit to the Philippines.
He will hold talks with President Rodrigo Duterte and meet technical experts in various areas including rice production.
O’Neill said the two countries shared a warm history that continued to grow as greater technical and cultural exchange took place.
“Engagement between Papua New Guinea and the Philippines go back to the 1800s when Filipino missionaries accompanied European Catholic priests to live with our people,” he said on arrival in Manila.
“Today, there are more than 35,000 Filipinos living in our country, making them largest group of expatriates in Papua New Guinea.”
He said Filipinos provided services in sectors such as healthcare and education, and businesses.
An important agenda on his visit is talks on technical support by the Philippines in the growing of rice in PNG.
“The Philippines is a world leader in rice cultivation, and they are interested to work with Papua New Guinea to expand our production,” he said.
“In rice trials conducted by Philippines agricultural experts, they have found our soil can yield double the rice per hectare than is possible in many countries in South-East Asia.
“This is because our soil is extremely fertile and for the most part has never been used for commercial agriculture or been exposed to pesticides.”
The visit ends tomorrow.