Tomscoll: PNG expecting downturn in rice imports

Agriculture and Livestock Minister Tommy Tomscoll says Papua New Guinea is expecting a downturn in rice imports and should be expecting an increase in rice prices towards the end of the year.

Tomscoll said in Parliament this week that currently, PNG is importing about 350,000 tons of rice per year, which equates to something close to K600m to K700m.

Tomscoll said rice import this year will fall by just K16m due to drought and other factors affecting the total global production.

Meantime, Trukai Industries Limited chief executive officer, Greg Worthington-Eyre, said they’re not aware of any shortages of rice in rice producing countries that would impact pricing or supply in PNG.

Worthington-Eyre told Loop PNG that Trukai is supporting the World Food Program by ensuring ongoing access to rice is maintained across the country.

The only issue impacting the price of rice in PNG is the Kina exchange rate against the US Dollars, which is making everything imported more expensive, he said.

“Trukai is working hard to keep pricing as low as possible and has been able to maintain pricing below market movements across the world, demonstrating yet again, that Trukai is the best support for food security for PNG when it comes to rice,” Worthington-Eyre said.

Meanwhile, Tomscoll added that PNG aims to change, from an import dependent country on rice to an export dependent country, by establishing large scale rice projects in the country.

Quintina Naime