Restoration of oil palm blocks will bring money: Official

Kepson Pupita

THE rehabilitation of smallholder oil palm blocks will ensure more money is generated, says Oil Palm Industry Corporation (Opic) acting general-secretary Kepson Pupita.
Pupita was in Alotau, Milne Bay, recently to present a motorbike to Opic staff and visit abandoned houses at the project sites.
Opic also paid about 26 farmers who were contracted to clean their blocks under Opic’s programme.
“In 2019, in the Alotau project, we did 687,117 metric tonnes of fresh fruit bunch,” Pupita said.
“In 2020, the time we started doing some intervention activities with the support of the government for the first time, our production went up to 733,724 metric tonnes.
“That is a small increase of 7 per cent or 46,607 metric tonnes.
“But in terms of kina, we brought in K65 million to the farmers – the gross earnings paid to the farmers.”
There are about 843 small holder farmers in the Alotau project that covers 1,522 hectares of planted oil palm.
“I continue to tell farmers that this increase in 60 per cent of world price will continue to spiral up thanks to the Coronavirus (Covid-19),” Pupita said.
“In the local communities people continue to work, because they are already isolated, the families live on their own.
“And that is the advantage of agriculture, and we will have to continue to promote agriculture.”