Trukai Industries celebrates Rice Field Day with Inaugural Smart Farmer Graduation and harvest of Commercial Rice

Trukai Industries celebrates Rice Field Day with Inaugural Smart Farmer Graduation and harvest of Commercial Rice

  Trukai Industries celebrates Rice Field Day with Inaugural Smart Farmer Graduation and harvest of Commercial Rice

Trukai Industries hosted its Rice Field Day last week, where it demonstrated its investment in rice farming and production, highlighting its commitment to working closely with local rice farmers to enhance their skills in rice cultivation. 

During the Rice Field Day, relevant stakeholders and members of the public witnessed one hundred and forty-two rice farmers graduate with a Certificate in Irrigated Rice Farming from the PNG University of Technology at Trukai Industries’ Rice Research Centre at Erap, in Morobe Province. 

Most of the graduates were from Morobe Province, while the others were from Eastern Highlands, Bougainville, Madang, Central, Jiwaka, Western Province, West and East Sepik, Oro, Milne Bay, Western Highlands and Simbu Province. Amongst the 109 farmers present for the graduation on Friday 19 April, 27 were female rice farmers. 

The graduation follows the successful completion of the participants’ 18 weeks demonstration of transfer of knowledge and assessment at the farmers’ various villages and provinces, after a two-week intensive training covering four modules on irrigated rice farming at the PNG University Technology, in Lae, Morobe Province in 2023.  

The Trukai Industries’ Certificate in Irrigated Rice Farming is a program conducted under a five-year partnership with the PNG University of Technology’s Agriculture Department and the Pacific Adventist University, under the Trukai Smart Farmer Program.  

Established in 2022, the Smart Farmer Program has trained more than 340 local rice farmers to date, with the PNG University of Technology conducting three batches in Lae and the Pacific Adventist University training its inaugural first batch in Port Moresby this year.  

Trukai Industries CEO Alan Preston congratulated the graduates for their hard work and stated that the Irrigated Rice Farming Certificate was a prerequisite for all upcoming Trukai Industries rice farming programs.  

“Today is all about the graduates and we congratulate you on the hard work that you have put into passing this program. We will continue to upskill and support you as the next step now is to participate in the Level 1 Certificate in Irrigated Rice Farming,” said Preston. The Smart Farmer Program is focused on building capacity in local rice farming and supporting communities in PNG. 

 “We hope that through the Smart Farmer Program, the graduates will be motivated to venture into semi commercial and commercial farming by utilizing what they have learnt and to work closely with relevant stakeholders in the Agriculture sector to assist in their endeavours as rice farmers,” said Preston.   

Vice Chancellor for the University of Technology Professor Ora Renagi explained that the university invests in programs that impact the lives of Papua New Guineans. 

“When Trukai Industries approached me about the Smart Farmer Program, I was happy to partner with them because I knew it would greatly impact our people,” said Professor Renagi. 

We must all work together to improve our standard of living and contribute to the economy of our country as most of our population is based in rural areas,” he concluded. 

Smart Farmer participants Gertrude Andrias and Noah Taugaloidi who represented the graduates during their speeches expressed similar sentiments about empowering rural Papua New Guineans to venture into sustainable farming activities to improve the livelihoods of their communities.  

“It’s time for us rural Papua New Guineans to rise up and be self-sufficient and work our land for the future of our families and communities,” said Taugaloidi. 

The Smart Farmer program is very effective because we have learnt from Trukai and the University of Technology that no matter our different education levels and no matter where we come from, we are now confident to grow rice with what we have been taught in regard to best crop management,” said Andrias.  

“In PNG we have all kinds of soil types, but from what we have learnt through the demonstrations during this program and the on field support that Trukai had given to us, this has now given us the confidence to grow rice and pass on this knowledge to our communities,” she added.  

A rice harvest demonstration of 50 hectares was also conducted during Trukai’s Rice Field Day as part of the total 800 hectares of land allocated for commercial rice farming. These rice grains are intended to be integrated into Trukai Industries’ products that will be distributed nationwide at the end of this year. 

“Trukai’s overall objective is to ensure food security and sustainability within our communities by providing high quality rice to Papua New Guineans and enabling them to be a part of our commercial rice project which will positively impact the economy of Morobe Province and the country as a whole,” said Preston.   

He reiterated, “We believe that all public and private stakeholders play an important role in contributing towards PNG’s food security and that we can achieve more when we work together.”  

Next year Trukai Industries along with the PNG University of Technology will conduct its second graduation in Lae, while the Pacific Adventist University will hold its first graduation in Port Moresby. 

Trukai Industries has one of the most extensive agricultural programs, investing millions of kina in rice research, science, technology and development for over thirty years. It continues to support local rice farmers by enhancing their rice cultivation skills, strengthening families, building communities and reaffirming its commitment to the people of PNG.