DAL Plans to Develop Rice Farming Into Corporate Entity
To generate income, the Department of Agriculture and Livestock (DAL) has plans to develop rice farming into a corporate entity.
According to the programme manager for the department’s rice extension unit Steven Hoko, rice at present is only a programme in the department. He said that the plan involved creating a rice board with its own corporate entity to strengthen domestic rice production.
Unlike other produce, rice doesn’t have a corporate entity to develop strategies, plan and goals. Studies show that PNG imports K400 to K500 million of rice each year.
“The goal is that we at least achieve some level of self-sufficiency in rice production in the country,” he said. “If we do that, we can save money spent each year buying rice. If we target five per cent, that could be like some K10 million to K20 million and as we progressively increase that and, for full sufficiency, we can save K400 million to K500 million or even K600 million.”
Part of the plan, he said, is rolling out large-scale rice farming starting in Maprik, East Sepik. At one stage, East Sepik had 12,000 smallholder rice farmers at 4,000 with Madang.