The National, Monday July 29th, 2013
By ELLEN TIAMU
A JOINT venture is being proposed for palm oil development in the Markham Valley, Morobe.
Markham Valley Oil Palm (MVOP) land group chairman Daniel Wohwiehembe said several investors had shown interest in developing the palm oil estate on the Markham plains.
But they suggested a joint venture arrangement that would promote greater benefits for landowners.
He said this following a direction by Governor Kelly Naru for the release of K500,000 as part of the Morobe provincial government’s K2.5 million commitment for the project.
Wohwiehembe said the project had been delayed because of the Government’s K2 million commitment and Morobe provincial government’s K2.5 million for the project.
“We’ve only planted 4,000 oil palm seedlings out of 150,000 we have in the nursery. We can’t put them into the ground because the promised funding is still outstanding,” he said.
“This is causing a delay in the project and, while this is happening the plants in the nursery are growing past re-planting age.”
Wohwiehembe said investors had shown interest but lack of government financial support was hindering talks and negotiations.
He said Morobe was the first province to have a palm oil policy and concept where indigenous land groups (ILGs) would own the plantations.
He added that investors would only be allowed palm oil milling interests in partnership with MVOP.
He said the arrangement worked differently from other palm oil projects in the country where investors, mainly foreign, owned most of the business.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill launched the project in February.