Maneke adamant to drive oil palm industry

Minister for Oil Palm, Francis Maneke is adamant that all programs in regards to the replanting of oil palms for the smallholder growers in Hoskins, Bialla and Popondetta projects will be accomplished.

Maneke in a press conference on Monday expressed satisfaction with the replanting exercise and raised concerns that overgrown oil palm plants are not producing sufficient yields which resulted in less income for the growers.

Oil palm is the third major crop with 14 percent of the annual export values in PNG. It covers a land area of 58,000 hectares (estate 33,000 ha and smallholder 25,000 ha, involving about 7,000 families).

The estates produce 65 percent of the output and 35 percent from the smallholders.

The oil palm industry supports about 4.5 percent of all rural households and their annual production is at the rate of 12 percent since 1997.

The overall growth rate of the industry since 1997 has been 15.5 percent per annum.

Three major schemes (Hoskins, Bialla and Popodentta) produce the bulk of the palm oil in the country.

All the schemes operate their mills producing crude palm oil entirely for export.

Minister for Oil Palm in a press conference on Monday raised concerns that the number of yields produced by the smallholder growers is declining. Therefore, the Oil Palm Ministry has stepped in to assist the smallholder growers in replanting old oil palm plants.

“Our focus now is to assist smallholder growers to replant new oil palm as the old oil palm plants are not producing plenty yields, resulting in farmers getting less income. Therefore the Ministry of Oil Palm is assisting the growers, especially those in Hoskins, Bialla and Popondetta.”

Maneke said they will be aggressively moving into targeted provinces especially Morobe and others for new oil palm projects in the country.

He said most important is the availability of land that landowners must allocate for the new oil palm projects.

“Land is an issue the Government is working with the Department of Lands through the land alienation program that will free up land to grow new oil palm projects. The Government is working closely with the landowners to make sure their land is bankable and has value that will benefit them and their future generation,” Maneke said.

He also clarified that the review of the Oil Palm Act 1992 will be tabled in Parliament mid-year for deliberation.

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