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APEC, PNG agriculture sector growth to align,says rice expert

Trukai Industries Rice Development Manager Humphrey Saese believes the agriculture sector is well placed to take advantage of the opportunities the APEC may provide it.

Mr. Saese believes the ripple effect of staging the APEC summit in November, which will see leaders of the most powerful nations in the world visit Papua New Guinea alongside APEC’s 21 Pacific Rim member economies, can certainly bolster the sector in terms of further offshore investment and interest.

Mr. Saese spoke while revealing another major planting project by Trukai Industries at Rangiampum village in the Markham Valley, with a commercial production area projected to exceed 250Ha this year.

“It will be very interesting to see what interest is generated in an investment sense and what can be leveraged from it,” Mr. Saese said.

“What the international appetite is for foreign investment into PNG’s agriculture sector on the back of APEC exposure remains to be seen, but I believe there needs to be a focus on the renewable, not just extractive, resource sectors.”

Mr. Saese said that while some agri sectors are better placed than others when it comes to capacity, such as the coffee and cocoa sectors, other sectors are also getting their own infrastructure in place to be able to supply new demand overseas.

“Rice is certainly one of those sectors, and while it is still sensible steps for us, the potential is there.”

Mr. Saese detailed further expansion was underway by Trukai Industries, citing Trukai’s Chingwam Planting Project.
Located at Rangiampum village in the Markham Valley and grown in Partnership with the Chingwam Ricegrowers cooperative, 15Ha of rice variety trial areas were planted before Christmas, and will be used to assess the suitability of four different varieties for large scale commercial production.

The commercial production area for 2018 is planned to be in excess of 250Ha and is now being planted. Large scale machinery including harvest, planting and spray equipment has been sourced and will be used on this, PNG’s largest and newest rice farm.

Harvest of the trial areas will commence in March with the commercial harvest beginning in April. A large investment in commercial grain drying and storage facilities is in progress, and ultimately the grain will be transported back to Lae to run through the new hulling mill and then packed into Trukai packets.

There is also the opportunity for smallholder growers to also deliver to the Chingwam site and have their rice purchased.
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