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PNG PM O’Neill Arrives in Philippines for State Visit - Rice Production High on the Agenda

Prime Minister of the Independent State of Papua New Guinea,  Peter O’Neill, has begun an Official State Visit to the Republic of the Philippines, where he will discuss a number of emerging bilateral opportunities between the two countries.

The visit will include a number of formal events with the President of the Philippines, H.E. Rodrigo Roa Duterte, and meetings with technical experts in areas that include rice production.

The Prime Minister said the two countries share a very warm history that continues to grow as greater technical and cultural exchange takes place.

“Engagement between Papua New Guinea and the Philippines go back to the 1800s when Filipino missionaries accompanied European Catholic priests to live with our people,” the Prime Minister said on arrival in Manila.

“As nation-states we have had diplomatic relations for 43 yeas, and it is important that we continue to strengthen our engagement.

“Today, there are more than 35,000 Filipinos living in our country, making them largest group of expatriates in Papua New Guinea.

“Many Filipinos provide services in sectors that include healthcare and education, as well as working in many businesses.”

The Prime Minister said he is looking forward to expanding opportunities for bilateral engagement in agriculture.

“One of the most important elements in this visit will be to discuss opportunities for technical support from the Philippines to grow rice in Papua New Guinea.

“The Philippines is a world leader in rice cultivation, and they are interested to work with Papua New Guinea to expand our production.

“In rice trials conducted by Philippines agricultural experts, they have found our soil can yield double the rice per hectare than is possible in many countries in South-East Asia.

“This is because our soil is extremely fertile and for the most part has never been used for commercial agriculture or been exposed to pesticides.”

The Prime Minister’s Official State Visit to the Philippines concludes on 17 May 2018.
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