Morobe oil palm development stalled

Lae News, Normal


THE progress of the Morobe provincial government and Huon district initiated project, Morobe Oil Palm (MOP) Limited, has been stalled because of lack of funding.
Since the initiation of the project last year, the company had mobilised almost 40,000ha of land for prospective oil palm development.
However, this year, they were not able to register the land because of funding setbacks.
MOP manager Geeman Pangarie said from K200,000 funding approved by the Morobe provincial government this year, they only received K150,000 while no allocation came from the Huon district.
Mr Pangarie said the piece meal allocation that they received was insufficient for the project to progress at a pace that it was intended to.
He said the company also applied for funding to the Government under the National Agriculture Development Plan and the Lands and Physical Planning Department without success.
Mr Pangarie said Morobe had the biggest land available for agriculture development, and if the Government was serious about rural development and improving the economic base of the province, it should demonstrate its full commitment to such impact projects.
He said the company had started to explore other options to source funding to “run this Government-initiated project”.
Last month, the company had applied for a soft loan worth US$200 million from the Chinese Development Bank for integrated oil palm development and a hospital under the social development package at the project site at Wampar.
Mr Pangarie said a signing for the loan agreement was scheduled in Shanghai for last Nov 26 but they were not able to attend because of financial constraints.
He added that he was disappointed because a crucial factor in attracting potential investors was a Government commitment to support the projects.