Mr Mari presents the rice to Mr. Devet, looking on is Mr. Robert  at the Samagos rice mill.

Rice provides energy and nutrition for half of the world’s population.

The introduction of rice farming in Western province is to supplement the traditional carbohydrate sago, and with increasing price of rice, growing rice makes sense.

Sago takes eight years or more to mature while rice takes around 100 days before harvest. Recently OTDF concluded its first externally co-funded rice project, which saw more than 1000 tonnes of rice harvested in the Middle Fly, mainly to be redistributed as seeds.

To prove market value, 800 kilograms of rice from this harvest was moved to Kiunga for milling. Packed in 30 farm sacks, the rice was transported 164 kilometres up the Fly River from Middle Fly and delivered to the North Fly Agro Limited (NFAL) rice milling factory.

On hand to receive the delivery was the Managing Director for NFAL Mr. Nawani Devet at the Samagos Rice Mill factory. Mr. Devet explained the concept which NFAL is using to support small holder farmers economically. “We buy garden produce direct from farmers and sell to corporate clients by way of orders received. One major client is the Lotic Bige Limited (LBL), a land owner company who place bulk orders for vegetables and fruits from NFAL.”

800 kilos of Middle Fly rice prepped for milling

OTDF Program Services Sustainable Development (PSSD) Manager Mr Andrew Mari delivered the rice varieties this month. He said: “Partnership with key development partners like NFAL and consistency in extension work by the District Agriculture and Livestock (DAL) officers will motivate farmers to produce quality and quantity, as demand for food never decreases. OTDF livelihood development team are supporting small holder farmers in communities from the North, Middle and South seeking alternative market sources for vanilla, corn, eaglewood, rice, cocoa, fish and crabs”

Samagos rice mill

OTDF agriculture extension officer Jethro Robert explained that since the monitoring commenced in 2022, the trials showed two rive varieties of Asian origin as most suitable for lowland cultivation, and upland cultivation, with short growth cycles of between 100 to 120 days. He said: “During the testing of the different varieties, rice farming observations were captured throughout the project, from this information farmers were trained to continue planting rice according to climatic and geographical standards of the region.”

Jethro Robert unloading the rice

The rice once milled and packed by NFAL, will be sampled on the market to see potential market value.

This agro partnership between OTDF and NFAL is a way forward in addressing food security in the Western Province.

OTDF Media