By Madelaine B. Miraflor
The Philippines is set to forge a five-year deal with the government of Papua New Guinea (PNG) as both countries explore possible mutual cooperation on the development of their rice industries.
Data from Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) showed that the Philippine and PNG governments are set to sign a five-year Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on agricultural cooperation, specifically for rice, this 2018.
The MOA is set to be finalized and signed during the scheduled visit of Philippine Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol to PNG within the first three months of the year.
“We are aiming to advance the rice industry growth of PNG and the Philippines by developing hybrid varieties, investing in infrastructure, postharvest technologies and agribusiness, and organizing agricultural research, education and training,” said PhilRice Executive Director Dr. Sailila Abdula.
The agreement is a result of the brief meeting between the delegates of the Philippines, led by Abdula and Philippine Ambassador to PNG Bienvenido Tejano and the officials of PNG’s Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, led by Minister Benny Allan, December of last year in PNG.
Under the draft MOA, both parties are expected to promote mutual consultation, exchange of technical assistance, and joint research and development activities.
Meanwhile, an article in PNG’s newspaper, The National, reported that Tejano and Abdula observed that PNG has excellent rice growing conditions, making it possible for the Philippines to collaborate and look for investment opportunities with them.