Rice has become the main staple food for the people of Solomon Islands and with the increasing population; the import price for rice will be expected to exceed more than 200-million dollars.

According to the Agriculture and Livestock Minister, Hon. Selwyn Riumana, this is money badly needed in Solomon Islands to improve social services.

Hon. Riumana says the 2007's rice import was about 167-million dollars and with this mind, the Government is looking at ways to quickly implement its National Rice Development Program.

Under this program, Solomon Islands will have three sizable commercial rice farms estimated to be around 700 hectares from the local people.

Mr Riumana says the Government has allocated 27-point-six million dollars in this year's budget for a National Rice Development Program.

Part of the funding is being used to buy equipment to assist farmers and speed up the implementation of the program.

Yesterday, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock received six vehicles and five portable rice mills worth about $1.7m from suppliers; Ela Motors and Farmset.