By ZACHERY PER
AN incorporated land Group (ILG) that developed 2,000ha of forest in Henganofi district of Eastern Highlands province has engaged a local company to manage its affairs.
The Fayantina Afforestation project formally chose the land owner company, Zhaffaa Limited, as its preferred company to undertake all its industrial development in the multi-million kina joint venture project between the landowners and the PNG Forest Authority (PNGFA).
In a meeting held in Fayantina last Thursday, 13 registered ILGs agreed to engage the company.
The meeting was the outcome of a five month intensive consultation between different stakeholders facilitated by a team of concerned landowners called the “assisting group”.
This mediation group comprised of members from various ILGs and their mission was to canvass support from the 13 ILGs to pursue Forest Minister Belden Namah’s commitment of K400,000 to the ILGs and eventually set up a treatment plant.
The ILGs had to choose between Zhaffaa Ltd, the established landowner company headed by Bon Oterga, and Jack Kagayo’s proposal of setting up a new company.
After both men gave their presentation, the ILGs opted for Zhaffaa Ltd’s preparedness in setting up the industry .
Twelve ILGs gave Zhaffaa Ltd their blessing, while one abstained.
The ILGs expressed concern at the long delay in harvesting the forest resources, thus denying the landowners the much anticipated revenue and spin off benefits.
The onus is now on Zhaffaa Ltd to ensure the industry is established in good time and that benefits really trickle down to the people concerned.
Mr Oterga, the executive officer of the land-owner company, shared the concerns of the ILGs and gave his word to do all he could to ensure that the concerns were adequately addressed.