PNG To Invest Over $2 Billion In Central Province Rice Venture

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Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i

One of country’s biggest agricultural projects to boost economy

By Gorethy Kenneth

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, April 8, 2016) – The Government yesterday gave approval for one of the biggest agriculture projects in the country, the K7 billion [US$2.2 billion] rice venture in Central Province

It will be carried out by the Naima Agro Industry Limited employing more than 5000 people. Governor-General Sir Michael Ogio signed the instruments with Agriculture and Livestock Minister Tommy Tomscoll, Secretary Ila’ava Pat and Eleana Tjandranegara of Naima Agro Industry Limited at Government House yesterday.

The three Central Province MPs and Governor Kila Haoda were also at Government House to witness the project signing. In attendance with Mr Haoda were Rigo MP and Attorney-General Ano Pala, Abau MP and Public Services Minister Sir Puka Temu, Kairuku-Hiri MP Peter Isoaimo, the landowners and staff of each of the Provincial and the respective district administrations. This project was negotiated about eight years ago.

It was initially proposed and presented to Sir Puka Temu when he was deputy prime minister, on the possibility of Papua New Guinea becoming a rice growing nation and hopefully to be exported.

Mr Tomscoll said that the project is one of the major ventures that has the magnitude to change the agriculture sector.

Mr Tomscoll and the leaders present told the media this was one of the Government’s major impact agriculture projects that will boost the economy. Speaking to the media, Kairuku-Hiri MP Peter Isoaimo who is hosting the project said the spin-off benefits from the project which is worth more than K6 billion [US$1.9 billion] will definitely improve the living standards of the Central people. "As a Governor I am so pleased that the development of this magnitude has come to our province and PNG as well and also it will benefit the entire Papua New Guinea from Central Province," Mr Haoda said.

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