PM signs rice production deal

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Republic of Philippines to engage in local rice production.

This move is aimed at reducing the cost of rice in PNG.

Speaking at the end of an Official State Visit to the Republic of the Philippines, O’Neill said that a Memorandum of Understanding on agricultural cooperation has been signed that will lead to extensive rice cultivation.

PM O’Neill said understanding has been reached with the Philippines President, Rodrigo Duterte, and his Government to cooperate in the production of rice for the benefit of both countries.

“Food security is essential for the future survival of all countries in the world, because if we cannot find enough food for a fast increasing population everyone will suffer,” O’Neill said.

The Philippines will provide technical advice, private sector investment and people to guide PNG farmers to establish many thousands of hectares of rice production in Papua New Guinea.

“Rice grown at these farms will be sold in the domestic market in Papua New Guinea, and in the long term, rice not required for domestic consumption will be sold to the Philippines at market rates,” stated the PM.

He believes the wide-scale production of rice in Papua New Guinea will also see the price of rice fall, as was the case when PNG began producing its own fresh milk.

The MoU, signed by the Agriculture Ministers of both countries, forms the basis from which both governments and relevant stakeholders can advance project arrangements and then sign a Memorandum of Agreement.

The Prime Minister said the MoA will be finalised before the APEC Leaders’ Summit in Port Moresby in November this year.

(Prime Minister Peter O’Neill with the Philippines President, Rodrigo Duterte)

Charmaine Poriambep