Home > Corruption, Land, Papua New Guinea > Govt backing controversial rice project

Govt backing controversial rice project

January 23, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

By Issac Nicholas

A State negotiating team will assess the K5 billion Central province commercial rice project that will see Papua New Guinea produce rice on a larger scale, reports The National.

Agriculture Minister Sir Puka Temu told parliament last Friday that the Central commercial rice project was initiated by the former Somare government under the leadership of Ano Pala. The project is valued between K3 billion and K5 billion.

“As far as the injection of capital is concerned, it covers 60,000 to 100,000ha of land which will be the first of its kind in the country.

“For the past 30 to 35 years no investor has put his hand up to invest this kind of capital in commercial rice production,” Sir Puka said.

He said commercial rice production was a high risk low yield area and this would be the first time an investor was looking into this possibility.

“The challenges are there and the previous and the current government are assessing particular deed of agreement.”

Sir Puka expressed disappointment at the sector for jumping up and down, including taking out a full-page advertisement.

“I do not know where they are coming from. Issues raised through the media are that the proposal is anti-trade.”

Sir Puka said there was an assumption that the price would increase but the government was looking at that among other issues.
He said the exclusivity of the import of rice for a specific period was under negotiations.

Sir Puka said the state negotiating team comprised Treasury and Finance, National Planning, Internal Revenue Commission, Environment and Conservation, ICCC and Lands and Physical Planning.

“Some people are putting the cart before the horse but, at the end of the day, national interest must come first.”

He said for commercial rice production,

“PNG does not have land and the single biggest land available is in the Kairuku-Hiri area where landowners and leaders have agreed to venture into this project”.

“Rice must be exported and become cheaper. The long term gains negate the short term pains,” Sir Puka said.

He said the Trukai agreement would be reviewed this month and the government hoped to come with a win-win situation for all parties.

  1. Karsie
    January 24, 2012 at 2:54 am

    We the people of PNG do not care about how much this rice project will bring to this country. What we care about is the manner in which the Govt has brought in an international criminal to do business in PNG and how it is making this become a reality. Dr. Puka Temu can’t be supporting a business owned by this kind of person. What is wrong with him? Can’t he start listening to genuine concerns?

  2. Concerned Mexican
    January 25, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    Sir Puka, in relation to your speech in Parliament last Friday concerning the rice project, I just need to ask you “when was the last time you actually attended a meeting with the actual land owners and talked to them regarding the rice project? Have they really agreed to give their land for the rice projects? Why give tax holidays to the investor? Why allow the investor to increase the rice prices?
    First of all before you try to hide the facts to the people of this nation, I must mention that you have never attended a meeting with the land owners and they have not agreed to the rice project and anything whatsoever. You never made an effort to hear for yourself what the land owner concerns are by attending their meetings, but yet you stand in parliament and talk as we have agreed to give our land away just like that. The people are not willing to give because you hide in your shell here in Waigani and we have not signed anything. The consultant you are sending is trying to stand for elections so he is not fooling us.
    Let me tell you why our land is bare and has nothing on it, because we don’t like fishy deals like this where we don’t get any benefits at all. We don’t want to be slaves on our own land. You can force the project in whatever way you like but as it was before the investors will pack up and leave in a snap. Ask a person for the Kairuku and Mekeo area and they will tell you how.
    Please find another investor that has money instead of spoon feeding this investor by giving tax holidays and increasing rice prices in order for the company to begin the project. It seems like the people of Papua New Guinea will be the actual investors in this project. Better still, why cannot the government invest in the project in partnership with the people? What is the use of saying 5 billion Kina a year when most of this money will be going back to the investor and we will be losing out as usual.
    We can see what you are doing. By the way, who actual owns this company? How much did they give you? We are not fools.

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