by Edwin Fidelis – EM TV, Kokopo
Landowners in North Baining, East New Britain Province, say they allowed an Asian oil palm developer into their area because they want development.
They believe opening doors to oil palm plantations will pave the way for new roads, schools and health facilities.
The once cocoa dominated area is expected to give up most of its land in the name of oil palm development.
This approach however has created divides within the community between those who want to keep cocoa as the main crop, and those who want oil palm.
Those in favour of switching believe the benefits of the oil palm development will outweigh its costs.
Those who support continuing cocoa plantations are farmers who have seen cocoa as their main income source for many years.
These farmers recently suffered the loss of their cocoa trees that were been bulldozed to allow the oil palm project to continue.
But the landowners who support oil palm say the Baining people should look to the future.
They say they have been living in isolation for many years.