Trukai Industries Ltd and its parent company Sunrice Australia have reached an understanding with the Oro Rice Growers Co-operative Association (ORGCA) to source locally produced rice into the Trukai system to feed Papua New Guineans.
Trukai Chairman Mark Robertson and Sunrice Chairman Laurie Arthur were impressed with local rice from Oro after inspecting rice fields and harvests being prepared for shipment to Lae. They also had talks with growers and Oro Provincial Assembly and the Provincial Executive Council.
The duo with company executives flew to Serembe village in Sohe by chopper from Lae on August 24 2015 to a rousing welcome by rice growers and stakeholders. The visit comes weeks after Agriculture Minister Tommy Tomscoll announced PNG’s new rice policy and acknowledged the efforts of Trukai in heavily investing in the local rice industry.
“People of PNG have a national rice policy and we want to be part of that policy by growing rice in PNG with the people of PNG,” said Robertson.
The Oro Provincial Government has given its full backing and will support the initiative. PEC executives and Governor’s First Secretary Benstead Taru participated in the occasion and assured their support for the rice development project in the province.
Provincial Administrator Shem Vegogo welcomed Trukai into the province and commended it for partnering with the growers. While assuring the partners for possible support in the venture, he called on the landowners and growers to free up their land and grab the opportunity.
Oro farmers have cultivated rice for many years, primarily for food security. The volcanic fertile soil and tropical humid climate are conducive for non-irrigated rice production.
ORGCA Chairman Edric Saese said much of the rice was established following the devastating Cyclone Guba when DAL distributed seeds of TCS 10 (ROC Taiwan) and NARI rice varieties. He said now that market is coming to the door step, his 500 registered farmers will go commercial.
Both Robertson and Arthur, who are Australian rice growers, have offered to work with Oro farmers in sharing their expertise.
“It’s good to meet you fellow rice growers. We’d like to think we do business in future,” said Arthur.
The growers association is presently mobilizing un-milled harvested rice from local farmers and the first container will be shipped to the Lae Trukai Mill in the coming days where the grains will be milled, packaged and supplied to PNG consumers.
A Rice Development and Purchasing Agreement will be signed in the next few days to seal the deal.
Trukai Rice Development Manager Humphrey Saese said the agreement will be signed after a response from the Oro Provincial Government.