Monday, 23 February 2009 1:43 PM

Rice Imports Hits SBD$200 Million Annually

Minister for Agriculture Hon. Selwyn Riumana has revealed that with the increasing dependence on rice imports by many Solomon Islanders, the importation of rice has increased dramatically.

"Unfortunately Solomon Islands depend on foreign countries to provide our staple food which put at risk our food security. Records available on hand indicated that value of imported rice into the country on yearly bases, is increasing at an alarming rate," said Hon. Riumana, during the official opening of rice harvesting at Sape and Bore Rice Project, Guadalcanal Province.

He also said that the current increase puts the value of imported rice at SBD$200 million. "Given the current scenario, the only way to reduce the imported rice is to grow our own rice," said Hon. Riumana.

He stated that the current CNURA government is the first to embark on a rice development program, and the latest was the approval of funding support of SBD$25.0 million under the national rice development program last year and SBD$15.0 million this year.

"Given the importance of the commodity, my Ministry will continue to provide support in terms of technical and finance together with the Republic of Taiwan Technical Mission in the country," Hon. Riumana said.

Solomon Times understands that the Sape and Bore rice project is fully funded by the Solomon Islands Government.