PNG to Start Major Rice Project in Central Province

Papua New Guinea's Minister for International Trade and Investment Richard Maru is hopeful a major rice project in Kairuku in Central Province will get off the ground this year.

He says the project though will have to get the blessing from the Central Provincial Government, Kairuku District Development Authority, Hiri-Koiari DDA, impact communities, and the National Government, who own the Manumanu land at Gabadi.

Rice investors from the Philippines, who visited the project site at Gabadi recently, say millions of Kina will be needed to finance the growing of rice on a commercial scale.

Former Philippines Department of Agriculture Secretary, Dr. Emmanuel Pinol, who leads the investor team, says they will need 1, 200 hectares to start this investment. 

The availability of state land and close proximity to the Hiritano Highway and electricity grid are some of the deciding factors.  

This decision was reached by a group of Filipino Rice Investors, after the conclusion of a two-day field trip up the Hiritano and Magi Highways of Central Province recently.     

It was all thumbs up, a gesture of confirmation that rice can be grown on a large scale in the country. 

A group of investors, from the Philippines, were satisfied after visiting villages along the Hiritano Highway, from Brown River, Vanapa, Gabadi, and Agevairu, and the Rigo Rice Farm along the Magi Highway last Thursday.

Minister Richard Maru in a media statement confirmed the investors have chosen Gabadi in the Kairuku District of Central Province as the ideal location for a large-scale rice investment, under the nucleus estate concept. 

Mr. Maru says rice farming is not new to the area. 

He added that large-scale rice investment will see the establishment of an 800-hectare estate rice model farm and train and support local village out-grower farmers under family-owned or rice-cooperative farmers from Brown River to Vanapa, and Gabadi all the way to Bereina.

The land they are interested in to set up the 800-hectare model rice farm with all the processing facilities is the recently acquired Manumanu State land which was recently acquired by the Government through Kumul-Consolidated Holdings Limited for K34 million.

NBC News / PNG Today

Date: 30-Jan-2023