The National, Tuesday, May 10, 2011
By JEFFREY ELAPA
MORE than K5 million is being paid to smallholder oil palm growers in Oro every month, a senior officer with Oil Palm Industry Corporation Popondetta revealed.
Project manager Leo Ruki said more than 5,700 small block holders and 3,000 village smallholders receive about K1.5 million a week resulting in the increase of the cash flow in the province which has started to change the living standards of the people.
Ruki said oil palm was greatly assisting in the overall living standard of the people who needed the government to assist by providing the necessary infrastructure.
He added oil palm in the province was a family business, where mothers and children collected loose nuts and the husbands harvested the main bunches.
Payment for their efforts are paid directly to their respective made accounts.
Ruki said the small growers were also entitled to Nasfund benefits and that was good news for growers in the province.
He said with the good turnover, more people were actively engaged in the industry and was one way the people had been kept busy.
Meanwhile, a Sohe leader Steven Kila Pat said the cash flow in the province was more than K5 million a fortnight.
“Beside smallholder oil palm, other sources of cash flow from the province were from wages and royalties from timber operations, salaries, betelnut trade, tourism and fisheries so there could be almost K7 million cash floating in the province every month,” he said.
Former Oro governor Sylvanus Siembo, who accompanied Kila Pat for the Igora Primary School opening, said although there was so much cash in the province, government presence was absent with the lack of services.
He said infrastructure like roads, bridges, schools and other services had crumbled after Cyclone Guba IN 2007.
Siembo said law and order also needed a boost and called on the political leaders from the province to stay with the people and make changes so that more investors could be attracted to the province.
He said people were keen to work on their land but the government had to assist them, adding that agriculture was the way forward and the government should invest more in it.