Trukai supports the development of the local rice industry through its’ technical staff, expertise, training and infrastructure. By harnessing the country’s geographical location, skills and economy, Trukai is helping to propel the rice industry forward within the Pacific region.
Trukai’s rice development focus, in support of food security, is to work with the people of PNG to grow rice, providing both new wealth and food security for all.We have successfully established several pilot rice farms in West New Britain (WNB), Central, Morobe and Oro Province. These pilot farms will allow our technical team to assess the potential for growing rice into a commercial scale and with the key success factor being the willingness of the
communities, Provincial and the Local Level Governments to participate in the development of rice, as a major staple food and alternate cash crop.
On the outset, Trukai has committed itself to assessing the suitability of developing local capacity to grow rice in PNG. Our investment in the initial assessment of land suitability country-wide shows that about of 14 per cent of PNG’s total land mass is suitable for agricultural production including rice. Assessment was done using latest Geographical Information technology (GIS). This assessment has been able to guide our decision to target developments in provinces and parts of PNG that have high productivity. In a shift that will create local employment and provide the raw material base for its’ current factory in Lae, Morobe Province.
Trukai Industries is guided by the overarching principle that that people own the land but through mutual partnership, Trukai will assist locals to develop their land and provide market access to growers to sell their rice crop.
More specifically, the Company is in the process of assessing large scale potential for mechanised rice development pilot sites in the Central and WNB province while at the same time, scoping opportunities to support farmers in other provinces where rice production has become an agricultural routine.
To date, we have expanded significant upfront costs to undertake research and scientific testing of varieties, agronomic practices and quality requirements for local processing and the development technology to support a village based agriculture system in PNG.
Trukai shares its’ experiences in developing large scale commercial rice production in PNG and the use of smallholder farming, as a source of rice for commercial marketing, through the staging of its annual Rice and Agricultural Development Field Day, at its’ Erap Farm, Lae.
As a company, Trukai is grateful for the partnership with organisations such as the PNG University of Technology (UNITECH), National Department of Agriculture and Livestock (DAL), National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI), and the International Rice Research Institute(NARI) on a range of projects focused on seed development, pest management, weed control, soil structure and satellite based land suitability mapping for rice growing and developing other farming opportunities in the country.
The Amadi-Baga pilot project in the Kairuku-Hiri District in Central province has been advanced to commercial farm as of August 5, 2015 after 8 months of successful testing of its potential under rain-fed growing conditions.
This is a joint partnership with the Amadi-Baga Incorporated Land Group and the farmers have agreed to allocate 20 hectares of their land to Trukai Industries, to further develop a rice farm.
The pilot project involved a four hectare crop sown with the NARI-1 rice variety, as the main crop, and evaluation of 12 new Trukai rice varieties. The main crop produced a record yield of 19 tonnes with varieties showing, promising yield potential. Some of these varieties matured as early as 90 days with very good yield rates averaging at seven tonnes over five tonnes per hectare. Under rain-fed conditions, this is considered very high yield and further work will be undertaken to assess pest and disease tolerances at Amadi-Baga area.
In addition, the rice project team is considering the introduction and the assessment of medium grain rice varieties that have, generally, higher market value for farmers’ crop.
Not only has Amadi-Baga produced the best yield in any pilot project so far in PNG, it also produced the best rice quality Trukai has seen. The Amadi rice is a great product which doubles what is being produced in South East Asia.
Trukai CEO, Greg Worthington-Eyre, visited Amadi-Baga in August to present a K10, 400 cheque to the ILG. The payment was calculated according to current global trading price for long grain rice, based on the Vietnam Long grain (VLG) at 25 % broken equivalent which the NARI-1 varieties fall in to this grain category.
Amadi-Baga will be registered as the first contract rice growers. They will be contracted to grow larger areas, when a formal grower contract agreement is signed later this year.
The 19 tonnes harvested from the Amdi-Baga pilot project was shipped to Lae for production. The harvest will be blended into the Roots Rice brand, making it the first ever crop produced by a PNG grower to get into the Trukai packaging.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was established with West New Britain in mid2013, covering areas of cooperation in rice development, training, supply of rice seeds and support for village sustainability and food security.
Under this MOU, the Rice Project team has gained access of over 100ha of land area at the old provincial ‘Kau Banis’ station at Kapore, outside Kimbe, and an initial 15ha land cleared to establish a rice and agricultural development farm with facilities for research, seed multiplication and training.
In late August 2015, Trukai supported training for rice growers in Kandrian. A total of 30 farmers were taught basic rice cultivation knowledge, post-harvest processing and use of rice by-products. This training was delivered in partnership with the PNG UNITECH.
Trukai Industries and the farmers in the Oro province are in the process of establishing a Rice Development and purchasing agreement (RDPA). This arrangement proposes to engage farmers to grow and supply the crop under a cooperative system where Trukai will buy rice from local farmers in the Oro Province.
Discussions between the Company and Serembe villagers of Sohe District were staged recently and arrangements are in place to ship rice to Lae, for processing and supply by Trukai Industries.
Trukai Industries Board Chairman, Mark Robertson, was in Oro at the end of August 2015, to see first-hand rice harvested in Oro and meet with the locals.
About 500 Oro farmers have planted rice for more than 15 years, on a small scale and are very knowledgeable in growing the crop. Trukai’s involvement in Oro is to encourage the local farmers to continue growing more rice so that the Company can purchase from them.
Established under cooperative societies, the Oro farmers are going commercial by growing the TCS-10 variety, a resilient rice grain that is native to Taiwan.
The farmers are yet to sign a rice purchasing agreement with Trukai Industries and Oro Provincial Government.
Our Erap farm with the target to develop a mixed farming enterprise showcases an agricultural model for the country as rice is a short season crop that grows up to a maximum of 130 days.
The challenge is to encourage other cash crops and livestock that will give farmers additional opportunity or options, integrating them into their rice growing plans.
Trukai’s Agricultural Development arm has taken care of most of the large scale farming exhibitions at the Erap estate. While there is still focus on commercial cattle production, rice and peanut research, development production and training at Gabmatzung is also ongoing.
Very recently, Trukai ventured into commercial rice production in a big way, giving away much of the cattle land at Erap. With rice trials expanded into other locations in Morobe,
Central, WNB provinces and other potential areas, Gabmatzung has now been turned into a seed production site for distribution to interested rice farmers in PNG.
The current drive by Trukai is to promote, exhibit and support semi-commercial and commercial rice production in PNG. Part of that is for Trukai to supply quality seeds to
farmers and groups from its production unit at Gabmatzung. Communities can cultivate the rice seeds and sell their harvests back to Trukai.
Trukai still maintains cattle but in reduced numbers, while trials have been initiated for other crops like sorghum for the development of feed for livestock.
RICE FARMING TRAINING
Through its unique association with agricultural training and research institutions, Trukai is able to provide skills training support for both its new employees and rice farmers in the country and abroad.
Local training is important to support growers and communities, target groups or cooperatives that are interested in cultivating rice, or are already growing rice.
Generally, the best mode of learning to grow rice by farmers is through farmer-to-farmer contact. This process of informal training is based on word of mouth and by learning through participation. But to ensure farmers have full appreciation and the perspective of rice growing, Trukai Industries provides training support through a partnership arrangement with the University of Technology and other institutions.
As part of its’ rice development initiatives, the company recruits young graduates from Unitech who go through an on-job training program on all aspects of rice growing; from variety selections, weed and pest management, soil nutritional assessment and rice grain post-harvest management.
Trukai currently provides sponsorship support which focuses on covering research grants and stipends for the top five per cent of the best student graduates who undertake research on topics related to enhancing our knowledge and information on rice production.