by Bethanie Harriman – EM TV, Lae
A number of corporate companies are engaging into partnerships with both provincial government and local landowners to further develop key business sectors.
Morobe’s agricultural sector has recently seen an increase in the number of interests for public, private and people partnerships.
Local landowners are organising themselves into cooperatives to register their land under Integrated Landowner Groups in order to take part in agriculture developments.
Within the last three decades the Papua New Guinea government has sought to promote development by putting customary land to productive use under land policy reforms.
These reforms include SABL’s, ILG’s and SEZ, which were all introduced to free up land for development.
In the Morobe Province, the incorporated landowner groups have become the base for agricultural developments.
Trukai Rice CEO, Greg Worthington-Eyre said the rice company would train and support the farmers to grow rice, harvest it and purchase the product for production.
“Trukai will buy the rice from the LLG Group or the cooperative,” said Worthington-Erye.
Bringing Trukai, the provincial government and the people together to begin this rice project is the Niugini Strategic Management Services.
Managing Director Bernard Maladina yesterday spoke to Markham farmers about Trukai investing money into developing rice.
“Trukai wants to invest into local rice production, it wants to come away from importing,” said Maladina.
The partnership has support from the Morobe Provincial Government. Morobe Governor, Kelly Naru explains a new concept introduced by the Provincial Government. It’s called the Private, Public and Landowner Partnership.
“We have seen the PPP arrangement come but not achieve the results simply because it neglected the local landowners,” says Governor Naru.
The concept of the Incorporated Landowner Groups is a law passed by parliament in 1974. It was later amended in 2007 to strengthen it.
Studies conducted at the Australian National University showed that after 2003, a lot of customary lands were transferred to corporate companies.
By the end of 2010, there were 16,000 ILGs registered at with the Lands Department.
Land reforms come at a time when land is an asset widely sought after by investors. With the changing economic landscape need to rescue companies that need land to survive.
Arrangements with any company whether in agriculture, tourism and fisheries need to be done in a manner that safeguard the people’s interest.
If it doesn’t, it will threaten the security that the land provides for the local population.