Markham oil palm plan behind planting schedule

Business, Normal

The National, Thursday August 1st, 2013

 THE Markham oil palm project has fallen sharply behind schedule with just 30ha of a planned 6,000ha planted this year, according to a well-placed source with a project partner.

The source, who wished to remain anonymous, told The National yesterday the future of the project was clouded.

It had stalled for the past six months because funds had not been released.

The source said workers had been reduced to depending on the “goodwill” of locals because their wages had not been paid for months.

The source said apart from a recent injection of K500,000 by the Morobe provincial government, the balance of K4 million budgeted for this year remains outstanding.

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill had committed K2 million to the  project he had launched in February. 

Morobe government’s contribution to the project was K2.5 million.

But the lion’s share of the committed funds for the first year of the project’s 5-year development phase had failed to materialise.

Only 30ha had been planted, the source said.

“The provincial government, Markham district, Umi-Atzera LLG and 21 Aihi LLGs are the stakeholders of the project,” the source said.   

Markham Oil Palm Limited is the landowner company engaged to develop the project over a 5-year period with a K105 million budget to develop 6,000 hectares of a 7,700ha   leasehold at Markham.

The management of the project developer could not be contacted for comment.