PNG RICE FACTORY PLANS $2.7 MILLION UPGRADE

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By Baeau Tai

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, Jan. 5) – Trukai Industries Limited will spend over PGK8 million [US$2.7 million] this year to upgrade its rice processing and packaging facility in Lae.

[PIR editor’s note: Trukai Industries supplies 95 percent of PNG’s rice market, according to the company’s website.]

A key component of this upgrade is the installation of color sorters to remove foreign material from rice products.

The company said in a report on its 17 medium-sized research and development projects that this capability was particularly important for locally produced rice that is sourced from a many smallholders.

"Food safety is paramount for the consumers of Papua New Guinea and accordingly Trukai is continually striving to introduce state of the art technologies to ensure that consumers enjoy the highest possible quality standards," the report said.

Upgrading of the processing facility is among 16 other projects Trukai will be undertaking under a six-year agreement with the Department of Agriculture and Livestock (DAL) to support the government’s push to re-vitalize rural industry in PNG.

The Rice Seed Production and Research is another project that would cost PGK1.5 million [US$510,000].

Trukai Agribusiness will continue rice production and research in the Markham Valley to assess the economics and long-term commercial possibilities.

[PIR editor’s note: Markham Valley is located in the southwest region of Morobe province, which is located on the north-central part of Papua New Guinea’s mainland peninsula; Lae is the capital of Morobe province and is the second largest city in Papua New Guinea.]

Meanwhile, grass and legume-based grazing systems would be developed to address current industry problems such as low weaning weights and low fertility.

Supplementary feeding using local ingredients would be developed for cattle farmers to increase their productivity and profitability.

"It is anticipated that Trukai Agribusiness will become the largest rice seed producer in PNG.

"This project targets DAL’s Rice Development Policy of ensuring that rice farmers and growers have access to quality seed paddy," the report said.

On its cattle project, Trukai Agribusiness will continue to develop the beef cattle production unit at Erap in Markham Valley, Morobe province.

Trukai will spend PGK1 million [US$340,000] on this project that specifically seeks to continue the establishment of improved pastures and grazing management systems that can then be used for demonstration purposes and will assist in extension of pasture establishment techniques and management.

Grass and legume-based grazing systems would be developed and demonstrated to address current industry problems such as low weaning weights and low fertility.

Supplementary feeding regimes particularly those that use locally available ingredients will be developed and demonstrated to cattle farmers to increase industry productivity and profitability.

January 6, 2006

The National: www.thenational.com.pg/

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