PORT MORESBY, Oct. 27 (Xinhua) -- Papua New Guinea (PNG) authorities on Friday launched a major development plan for its Eastern Highlands Province, including the rollout of a leading agricultural project involving Chinese expertise to farm high-quality mushrooms and highland rice.
PNG Prime Minister Peter O'Neill attended the launch of the province's 2018-2022 five-year development plan and inspected the base of the project north of provincial capital Goroka.
With the help of agricultural specialists from southeast China's Fujian province, the project involves the quality Jinshan 1 rice variety and the cultivation of an edible and medicinal fungi grown out of special wild grass, similar to some fungi grown from tree matter. The grass, known as juncao, can also be used to feed livestock.
O'Neill, together with local politicians and government officials, viewed demonstrations on how the special crops were processed and he lauded the work of the Chinese specialists.
Fujian Agriculture and Forestry University fungi specialist Lin Yingxing told O'Neill that one hectare of juncao can be used to feed 400 to 500 sheep, or to grow 100 tons of fresh mushrooms. The Jinshan 1 rice can yield up to 8.5 tons per hectare and reap record harvests, said Lin.
The fungi and rice farming technologies are listed as priorities under the Eastern Highlands five-year plan to help local communities eradicate poverty, ensure food security and achieve sustainable development.
The agricultural project is one of the latest in a string of cooperative agreements and work between the provinces of Eastern Highlands and Fujian. The cooperation on fungi and rice cultivation between China and PNG dates back two decades ago, and has yielded fruitful results.