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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (October 28, 1998 - PACNEWS)--- Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister, Bill Skate, has reported that his cabinet recently approved implementation of strategies to promote domestic rice production.

The Department of Lands and Physical Planning will distribute government land suitable for growing rice to farmers, he said. At the same time, small-scale irrigation facilities will be established.

An estimated 46 million kina (US$ 20 million) is expected to be spent on developing rice farming over the next ten years, with about 10,000 growers to be directly involved.

Under the plan, provincial governments will play significant roles in funding and promoting rice production in their respective provinces and districts.

The Prime Minister said rice is a staple food for many families and the government will integrate rice production into the current PNG farming system as a component of the National Food Security project.

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