Gov’t Urges Rice Importers to Invest Locally
In sync with the goal of the government to limit rice imports, Agriculture and Livestock Minister John Simon said that it is perhaps best that rice importers invest in the local rice economy.
“We’d like to see companies investing in the country,” he said. “On rice, what we are going to do is to see us growing the industry. We must not always continue to import. We must look at ways to grow the industry here. We would like to go into partnership with rice importers and start growing rice in the country.
He added, “One of the problems that everyone’s been telling me about is the issue with the land because 97 per cent of land in the country is customary-land owned by our people.
“But we would like companies to partner landowners and make arrangements to grow rice in the country. This is a challenge to all the rice importers, if you are bringing so much, you’ve got to start producing so much in the country at a certain level, and the other certain level you import. If we don’t start now, when are we going to start?” Simon said. “We are going to start now and start advising our partners and friends that we are doing this. We want people involved in the industry to invest in the country.”
Simon added that the Department of Agriculture would like to partner with the Livestock Development Corporation as the government can use the land to plant more rice. “We would like to bring partners in so we develop some of that land,” he said.