“Even though PNG is considered one of the smaller palm oil producers by world standards, palm oil represents one of the country’s most important cash crops, accounting for around 40% of agricultural export earnings over the last decade.
Furthermore, research by ITS Global Consultants shows that incomes associated with palm oil cultivation and processing have risen steadily over the last 10 years, with smallholder returns from palm oil being almost 10 times those from cocoa.”
While the palm oil industry in Bougainville has great potential to foster economic growth, environmental and social concerns have come to the fore.
See below a response to this report :An Open Letter about Scientific Credibility and the Conservation of Tropical Forests
Download report here The Economic Benefits of Palm Oil in PNG(2011)
Torokina oil palm disputed by Bougainville landowners
On the 15th of January the Post-Courier reported it is full steam ahead for the controversial Torokina Oil Palm plantation on Bougainville. But now evidence has emerged that the necessary landowner permissions have not been obtained and local people are not happy.
In a letter to the Department of Lands locals people accuse the Bougainville government of fast-tracking the Incorporated Land Group process and not dealing with the their concerns. The letter demands that ILG certificates not be issued.
Is this another case of President Momis pushing through large-scale resource projects to enrich big corporations?
The beneficiary of this project is Hakau Investment Limited owned by Henry Chow and run by his son Fabian. The Chow dynasty have been awarded a range of government grants for projects on Bougainville. To conduct a feasibility study into oil palm at Torokina, they were awarded K10 million in 2010-11.
But landowners remained concerned. Palm Oil has a global reputation for harming the environment, damaging land, and enriching big business interests, at the cost of landowning communities.
TOROKINA OIL PALM NOT A FAILED PROJECT
BY JENNIFER NKUI
The Torokina Oil Palm Project according to the chairman of Beko Incorporated Land Group Peter Tsuremai is not a failed project as assumed by some leaders as well as Bougainvilleans.
In an interview with New Dawn Fm yesterday, the chairman pointed out strongly that the first stage of the Torokina Oil palm project which is feasibility studies on the project site is completed by Hakau Investment who won the contract …through the tender process.
He said all this talk that the Torokina Oil Palm project is a failed project is not true because the process on the project is still continuing.
He added that the project is now into its second stage and work on the second stage of the project will progress after the presentation of ILG certificates to the remaining 6 ILG’s in Torokina. Mr. Tsuremai stressed that Torokina is the first district in Bougainville to have this opportunity with the presentation of ILG certificates under the Incorporated Land Group Rights.
He explained that there are a total of 8 clans who are involved in this oil palm project because these 8 clans own the large landmass in Torokina.
He said all these clans want the project to progress and there is no reason to say that there is no support for this project.
According to Mr. Tsuremai, the project is a multi-million kina project and with it sure to come big developments and change to the district.
Therefore, he is of the firm believe that Torokina will be well off and the people in Torokina are happy especially in terms of infrastructure development, wharf, airport and other developments must take place in Torokina District.
Papua New Guinea may be one of the smaller palm oil producers, however it is unique in that it only has two producing companies, both of which are 100% certified to the RSPO standard
Papua New Guinea occupies the eastern half of the world’s second largest island just 140 kilometers north of Australia. The island is rich in natural resources with 80% of its population living in rural areas and relying on agriculture as its main source of livelihood.
Even though PNG is considered one of the smaller palm oil producers by world standards, palm oil represents one of the country’s most important cash crops, accounting for around 40% of agricultural export earnings over the last decade. Furthermore, research by ITS Global Consultants shows that incomes associated with palm oil cultivation and processing have risen steadily over the last 10 years, with smallholder returns from palm oil being almost 10 times those from cocoa.
The oil palm was first introduced to Papua New Guinea at the end of the 19th century. However, it wasn’t until the 1960’s that oil palm plantations were converted into large commercial developments.
According to the Index Mundi’s 2013 figures, PNG ranks sixth in global palm oil production, after Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Columbia and Nigeria. Its palm oil production is estimated at 630 000 tones for the current year, representing less than 1% of global production. While its entire industry presently rests on 150,000 hectares of land, some 5.1 million ha have been identified for development.
The palm oil industry in Papua New Guinea is structured around a small number of large companies that cultivate and process oil palm fruit on estate developments. Their palm oil industry is unique in that the two major producing companies – New Britain Palm Oil and Hargy Oil Palm- as well as all associated mills, are environmentally accredited through the RSPO.
While the palm oil industry in Papua New Guinea has great potential to foster economic growth, environmental and social concerns have come to the fore.
In recent years some companies – particularly logging firms – have been exploiting a loophole in national law in order to fast track supposed agricultural development as a means to obtain timber. According to a report by Greenpeace, these companies use palm oil licenses as a cover to apply for Special Agricultural Business Leases (SABLs) which would allow them to bypass established laws and restrictions on industrial logging designed to reduce the unsustainable harvest of timber.
As a result, the government has placed a moratorium on such developments whilst a commission of enquiry takes place. In the mean time, Papua New Guinea palm oil producers continue to compete on the global market by competing on quality rather than quantity.