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NEWS ADMIN

Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani

DATE

08/06/2005

NEWS PROVIDER

Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani

NEWS SOURCE

Post-Courier

CATEGORY

HEADLINE

NGOs opposed to oil palm project
Monday 6th June, 2005 - Non-government organisations in East NewBritain Province have opposed the introduction of oil palm in PomioDistrict.The NGOs are seeking co-operation from the National and ENB provincialgovernments to cancel the plan and replace it with a suitable project -which is environmentally safe - and bring long term and sustainabledevelopment to the local people.Chairman of the ENB Alliance of Community Development Agency PatrickVaragat said this recently at Open Bay, when expressing views of the NGO’sagainst the proposed oil palm project.In the past, there has been numerous attempts by both the National andprovincial governments to introduce models and programs to the districtsuch as the agriculture lease schemes of the 1960s, ENB small-holderdevelopment project of 1992-1997 to Pomio and Baining and the hydroproject which has failed to benefit the district.These failures were due to the lack of consultation with the local peopleand the lack of proper planning by both governments.Mr Varagat said the proposed project would give rise to a situation wherethe local people would become second class citizens on their own land.He also said social problems such as rape, prostitution, trespassing ontraditional land, illegal settlements, HIV/AIDS, ethnic fighting andimmigration of unwanted settlers would destroy the good reputation thepeople in the district had.Mr Varagat said environmentally, oil palm is the type of crop that usesmore nutrients from the soil, causing soil nutrients degradation thateventually makes the soil useless for future agriculture.The oil palm project was believed to have been given little time for onfloor to discuss in the last Provincial Assembly meeting.The NGO’s claimed that they were avoided for discussions in the lastmeeting