Mindanao farmers to export premium rice to PNG
While most local farmers struggle to compete with the influx of imported rice, Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) managed to sign a deal with Independent State of Papua New Guinea (PNG) to import premium quality and organic rice.
PNG Prime Minister James Marape and Philippine Ambassador to PNG Bienvenido Tejano witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the rice farmers’ groups of Mindanao represented by the MinDA Chairman, Sec. Manny Piñol, and Central Province Governor Robert Agarobe Thursday night in Port Moresby.
According to Piñol once export documents are completed, an initial shipment of 5,000 metric tons of the best quality rice produced in Mindanao, including RC-160, 7-Tonner, Banaybanay, Dinorado and Organic Rice – will be shipped to Port Moresby. Under the program, the Central Province Government through its Economic Enterprise Office will import the Mindanao Rice to be distributed in the province and other areas of the country.
When converted to Philippine peso, rice prices in PNG range from P49 to P70. Premium rice commands a higher price since there is a niche market for good eating quality rice in the country said PM Marape.
Gov. Agarobe and East Sepik Gov. Allan Bird, who are among the ardent supporters of the agricultural engagement between PNG and the Philippines, both said Papua New Guinea rice consumers are willing to pay a premium price for good eating quality rice.
The export of Mindanao’s premium rice to PNG will assure the region’s rice farmers of a fair price for their produce.
The Philippines’ engagement with PNG started in December 2017 after a meeting between President Rody Duterte and then PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neil in Danang, Vietnam.
In that meeting, Pres. Duterte instructed then Agriculture Secretary Piñol to forge an agriculture cooperation agreement with PNG which was signed in 2018.
The Philippines assisted the PNG through the private sector in establishing a rice demo farm in PNG.
During the signing of the MOU last night, PM Marape thanked Pres. Duterte and Sec. Piñol for their support to PNG Agriculture and expressed interest in opening up his country’s market to other products from the Philippines.
The MinDA eyes to link Mindanao’s poultry farmers with PNG aiming to export dressed chicken.