Trukai seed crop nears harvest

Business, Normal

The National, Friday 14th of March, 2014

THE 100ha rice seed crop planted by Trukai Industries Ltd (Trukai) at its Erap farm in Morobe is now two months into its growing cycle and is due for harvest next month.
In a first for the region, Trukai was trialling large-scale rice seed production which differed from the traditional rice farming method of paddy fields and small scale upland in PNG.
Trukai’s chief executive Greg Worthington-Eyre said while there had been some significant challenges with the Erap crop, the company was committed to demonstrating the success of rice farming and seed propagation in the country.
“The crop has required significant pest management and weed control and we are relying on rainfall alone to water the crop as the soil type and landscape do not support an irrigation system,” Worthington-Eyre said.
Aided by some of the best farming equipment available together with better than expected rainfall, Trukai was now able to convert what was generally considered as marginal land into large area rice paddies.
“We have shipped in world-class farming equipment fitted with GPS navigation to assist with sowing, spraying and harvesting — all of which are being operated by local Erap farm employees after comprehensive training.
“With the successes achieved to date at the farm trial, I am delighted to announce that planning is underway to plant an additional 100ha pure rice seed crop,” Worthington-Eyre said.
The pure seed will be used in rice production for distribution to the farmers across PNG.
It is essential that farmers have access to pure seed each year before starting their own planting cycles as rice seed requires annual propagation to maintain the originality of the variety, purity of type and high rates of viability.
The  rice seed project was being completed in collaboration with the Morobe provincial department of agriculture and livestock with Trukai injecting more than K700,000.