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25 July 2018


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Boniface Aipi

In the pretext of oil palm development, hardwood logging and exporting is a major concern.

Recently I spoke to Turubu oil palm landowners who have currently taken the developers to court.

When the initial deal was done to grow palm oil on the land, there was no separate agreement in place for the hardwood logs, which were to be cleared to grow palm oil.

The Asians cut down hardwood logs and exported them and the landowners were paid less money.

In the pretext of growing palm oil, the Asians were basically running a logging operation and started exporting logs. Then they started planting oil palm on the cleared land.

Oil palm is not like other cash crop commodities like cocoa or coffee, where you can pick the fruit, pulp and dry it before shipment.

Palm oil needs to be processed fresh from the trees, hence a factory is needed onsite. Without a processing facility, the palm trees that are grown and subsequent harvest of fruits will go to waste.

This is exactly what is happening with the Turubu oil palm plantation in East Sepik. There is no processing plant to process the oil palm fruits, hence the fruits are getting wasted and no exports.

The Malaysian company fooled the Turubu people to harvest logs. Frantically now the people of Turubu are looking for an investor who can build a processing plant to process the matured oil palm trees which are bearing fruit.

I think a similar thing is happening elsewhere in PNG. Asians are harvesting logs in the pretext of developing oil palm plantations.

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