Author: Alexis Romero
Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Philippine Statistics Authority.
PORT MORESBY— The rice demonstration farm being developed by the Philippines and Papua New Guinea could serve as Manila's "food security insurance" and could help shield Filipino consumers from price shocks, the Agriculture department said.
Last August, the Philippines sent 19 farmers to Papua New Guinea to plant rice and to train local farmers as part of a bilateral agreement on agriculture cooperation.
The planting was done in a 25-hectare demonstration farm inside the Pacific Adventist University outside Port Moresby. The leased facility was intended to become a model seed farm that could become a source of certified rice seeds.
The Filipino farmers may work under Philippine companies, which will invest on irrigation.
While Papua New Guineans would be prioritized during harvest time, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol is optimistic that the farm would also contribute to the Philippines' food security efforts. He said anything in excess of Papua New Guinea's initial rice requirement of 400,000 metric tons could become part of the Philippines' rice supply or exported to other island nations.