Payment marks historic moment for PNG rice farmers

August 18, 2017
Source: Post Courier

Sunrise and Trukai Industries board of directors have seen first-hand the progress of the expansive Markham Valley rice project, established with the cooperation of the Chingwam Rice Growers Cooperative in tour.

During the historic tour, a cheque for K84,700 for the purchase of the 140 ton of rice harvested in May was presented to the Chingwam Rice Growers Co-operative by Trukai Industries.

Trukai chairman Mark Robertson made the presentation to Cooperative chairman Michael Maran.

Other members and leaders of the Rangiampum community witnessed the occasion.

For Trukai rice development manager Humphrey Saese, the presentation was the culmination of years of dedicated planning and labour in Markham Valley.

“I have worked for over 15 years in the Markham Valley in Papua New Guinea on promoting and encouraging farmers to grow rice. There has never been a moment like today when we are able to see farmers get the support in growing rice but more importantly actual Kina being paid,” he said.

“We have a positive community response from this commercial project with overwhelming interest from farmers and landowners in the valley who are keen to give their land for rice farming.

“This was a significant milestone in the development of the rice industry in Papua New Guinea.

“The project has progressed from ‘pilot testing’ to a whole new level in rice farming in the country,” said Mr Saese.

The project involved an initial testing of 10 hectares in 2015 which saw the successful cropping and delivery of 20 tons of rice, before expanding to 40ha in the 2016-17 season for a haul of over 140 tons of paddy, now in storage for milling.

Trukai is now expanding to a 500 plus hectare rice plantation near Rangiampum and the site will be progressively expanded up to 2,000 hectares over a number of seasons, subject to relevant agreements and climatic and soil evaluations.

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