Header Ads

Bountiful May harvest beckons in Markham Valley

Trukai Industries domestic rice production efforts in Markham Valley will produce the single largest rice farm outside of Australia, with project stakeholders looking forward to a bountiful harvest towards May this year.

 The Trukai team has been able to plant over 200ha of rice with their landowner partners in the UMI area, which has progressed steadily from just a pilot trial to what will be PNG’s largest domestic rice farm.

“It’s a journey that has really just started towards fulfilling PNG’s domestic rice aspirations, but what is happening now is the result of working through these challenges and overcoming them,” said Trukai Rice Development Manager Humphrey Saese.

According to Saese, rice farming in PNG comes with great difficulty, especially under rainfed conditions in such a tropical environment.

“Understanding the dynamics of rainfall requirements, pest pressure, diseases and more importantly landowner issues and cultural barriers, is a complex blueprint to execute,” he explained.

“When we first started advertising our interest to engage landowners some five years back, we received overwhelming interests from all over Papua New Guinea, including growers from the Morobe province.

“There are many out there who want the dream of growing rice to become a reality, but the truth we have to face is there are many challenges and hurdles we need to overcome in this nation to be able unlock the true potential of rice farming.”

In 2015, through the Morobe provincial government, Trukai made contact with Chingwam Cooperative in the Markham district. This was followed up with a pilot trial plot of 6ha, delivering over 20tons of paddy to the mill. In 2016, the area was increased to 40ha though rice love moisture, the excess moisture from the rain, presented challenges and also tested the ability of the crop to adapt and grow.

“We then had to overcome what was potentially extensive brown plant hopper damage of our 40ha rice plantation,” Saese said.

“Luckily for us, the pest incursion occurred in isolated pockets and our team were quick to respond with approach control measures, allowing the crop to finish off with a record produce of 140 tons.”

Mr Saese said the commercial venture continues to gain momentum with almost daily phone calls, test messages, and Facebook inbox messages from farmers across the Valley who want to partner with Trukai’s model of rice development.

Powered by Blogger.