Torokina oil palm disputed by Bougainville landowners
On the 15th of January the Post-Courier reported it is full steam ahead for the controversial Torokina Oil Palm plantation on Bougainville. But now evidence has emerged that the necessary landowner permissions have not been obtained and local people are not happy.
In a letter to the Department of Lands locals people accuse the Bougainville government of fast-tracking the Incorporated Land Group process and not dealing with the their concerns. The letter demands that ILG certificates not be issued.
Is this another case of President Momis pushing through large-scale resource projects to enrich big corporations?
The beneficiary of this project is Hakau Investment Limited owned by Henry Chow and run by his son Fabian. The Chow dynasty have been awarded a range of government grants for projects on Bougainville. To conduct a feasibility study into oil palm at Torokina, they were awarded K10 million in 2010-11.
But landowners remained concerned. Palm Oil has a global reputation for harming the environment, damaging land, and enriching big business interests, at the cost of landowning communities.