Solomon Islands needs to go into semi-commercial rice production if it wants to offset current rice imports of over 50-million dollars per year.
Chief Field Officer of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, Willie Tuita made the statement yesterday, at the start of another rice harvesting week for the Don Bosco Tetere Technical Institute.
He told students and staff, along with invited guests at the ceremony, that Solomon Islands is importing over 30-thousand tonnes of rice each year, which costs over 50-million dollars.
Mr Tuita said Solomon Islands can only produce about 9-hundred tonnes of polished rice per annum, and it has to produce more to meet its annual rice requirements.
He also said the country needs to develop about 3-thousand hectares of rice to be self sufficient.
“To be self sufficient in rice production the country needs to develop about 3-thousand hectares of rice. This means that we can not rely on smallholder rice production alone, we need to go into large scale or semi-commercial rice production if we are to reduce our rice import bill at all. Thus, it is the government’s policy to encourage community and commercial rice production so as to speed up production and improve the country’s food security situation.”