The Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) will continue its support in smallholder rice development. JICA will be working closely with the Department of Agriculture and Livestock, other collaborating partners including the National Agricultural Research Institute, PNG University of Technology, OISCA, and four target provinces.
A new agreement was signed in October last year by DAL, JICA and Department of National Planning and Monitoring for the second phase of the smallholder rice promotion project which officially kicked off in December.
Recently, DAL and JICA jointly organised a workshop at Granville Motel to discuss the project which is being implemented in four provinces, namely, Madang, East Sepik, Milne Bay and Manus.
The purpose of the workshop was to discuss the framework and implementation plan of phase two of the smallholder rice promotion project over the next three and half years from 2012 to 2015. The workshop was coordinated by the DAL rice extension unit and was attended by representatives from the four target provinces and the collaborating partners.
The focus of the second phase will be to continue building and improving on what was achieved in phase one of the project, including training of model farmers, improving milling services and development of guidelines for smallholder rice production and milling services, strengthening of rice policies, including baseline surveys in the target provinces.
The first phase of the smallholder rice promotion project was conducted from 2003 to 2008 in Madang and East Sepik provinces and was an overwhelming success. The focus of the first phase was on capacity building of both officers and farmers on rice production and management.
The project had two main components, rice cycle – which started from seed to land preparation, planting, harvesting and postharvest technology which included threshing, drying, milling, storage and retaining some rice seeds for future planting. The second component was farmer to farmer extension, where a trained lead farmer transferred skills to other farmers. Sub-components included support system to model farmers; monitoring and evaluation; seed production and distribution.
The second phase of the project has three main components.
- To conduct additional training for model farmers who were trained in phase 1 of the project – this will include review of monitoring system and reporting; training on improvement of soil fertility, pest and disease control; and storage.
- To improve the milling service – for this, there are plans to do a survey on rice milling machines in PNG from which improvement plans will be formulated. In addition, to give support to DAL on strengthening rice policies. This will include a baseline survey on rice production, consumption, marketing, etc in PNG. It is expected that the survey will be conducted initially in the four target provinces and extend to other provinces.
- Other activities will include sharing of information, development of guideline for smallholder rice production and guidelines for milling service.