Posted By Staff Reporter : www.pngfacts.com
The Marape-Basil led PNG Government should continue worthwhile agriculture projects initiated by the previous government to reduce agricultural imports worth over K600 million, Unggai-Bena MP Benny Allen says.
“When I was the agriculture and livestock minister in the O’Neill- Abel government, we initiated the rice seed farming with the Philippines government and the agriculture innovative park with the Chinese government in 2018,” he said.
“Had the Marape-Basil Government continued those projects, we should have increased our foreign exchange by now by exporting rice to the Philippines and processed agriculture products to China.”
Allen said on Friday during grievance debate that had the rice seed farming project at 14-Mile outside Port Moresby commenced, PNG would have saved more than K600 million annually on importing rice.
“In 2018, during the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit, we signed an agreement with the Philippines government to start the rice seed farming,” he said.
“That farm was to grow rice, harvest the seeds and distribute them to rice farmers throughout PNG.
“These farmers can then sell rice domestically and the surplus, we export to Philippines.
“The O’Neill-Abel government also helped establish local rice farmers in Markham, Morobe, and now, these farmers are selling rice (Hamamas rice) to the domestic market.
“That’s the only way to reduce rice imports through empowering local rice farmers.
“Another good initiate of the O’Neill-Abel government was the agriculture innovative park in Eastern Highlands.
“Chinese investors had plans to spend US$540 million (about K1.578 billion) to process agriculture products to be exported to China.”
Allen said the Government had a golden opportunity to improve its economy through these projects but lost it.
Statement / The National / PNGfacts
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