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Posts Tagged ‘Papua New Guinea’

Filipino land grab doubles to 2 million hectares

March 28, 2018 Leave a comment

“Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neil [sic] instantly offered 100,000 hectares for planting even starting tomorrow, but can develop easily 2 million hectares in government lands for rice farming with irrigation.”

The problem is, the PNG government doesn’t have even 100,000 hectares of land, let alone 2 million hectares. So whose land are they going to use – and how many Filipino rice farmers are we going to allow into the country?

See also:

Filipino’s on their way to claim 1 million hectares

O’Neill and Allan stitch up another huge land grab

On Piñol’s idea to rise with rice in Papua New Guinea

Source: Michael Makabenta Alunan – Business Mirror

Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol’s proposal to “export” Filipino private sector-led rice-farming systems to Papua New Guinea may have raised condescending eyebrows from economists and agriculture experts, but his novel strategy can perhaps open up vast potentials and unintended opportunities.

Thinking out of box? Piñol, a boxing aficionado early on in his career, even as a former journalist, long before he joined politics, was thinking out of the box when he proposed to bring high-end Filipino rice-farming systems to Papua New Guinea.

Only over a week ago, Piñol went to Papua New Guinea, a British Commonwealth Realm, and got its Prime Minister Peter O’Neill to commit to come over to meet with President Duterte sometime in May and possibly cement bilateral economic commitments, followed by a treaty that can institutionalize any mutually beneficial arrangements.

However, top-notch economists and agricultural planners led no less by former Socioeconomic Secretary Dr. Cielito Habito and former Agriculture Secretary William Dar have criticized Piñol, asking two valid questions: 1) Why focus on “rice self-sufficiency” when we cannot compete against Thailand’s and Vietnam’s production costs of rice at P5 to P6 per kilo against P10 to P12 per kilo in the Philippines? Many economists would therefore advise to give up the elusive goal of self-sufficiency, and settle instead for food security while focusing on higher incomes from other high-value cash crops and livelihood activities; and 2) Why go to Papua New Guinea when we have more problems locally?

Can’t do away with rice yet. Speaking on March 22 before the 2017 Philippine Agricultural Journalists Inc. and San Miguel Corp.’s BINHI Agricultural Journalism Awards, Piñol argued we cannot simply abandon rice self-sufficiency, unless Filipinos change their diets and reduce their rice consumption.

For the poor, who survive on a hand-to-mouth existence, 80 percent to 90 percent of their income is spent on food, the bulk on rice to fill their hungry stomachs and less on real food. A study by Professor Jeyakumar, a rice dietary expert and one-time fellow of the International Rice Research Institute, noted that obesity of Westerners like the Americans is caused by almost 40 percent in high-fat diets, compared to Asians, whose average diets are composed of 67 percent carbohydrates, mostly rice, and only 21 percent fats. For the dirt poor, rice may even share as much as 90 percent of their diet.

As our traditional sources of rice imports, Vietnam and Thailand are also vulnerable to climate change with Thailand devastated by a tsunami years back, Piñol claims we must continue aiming for rice self-sufficiency and developing alternative sources like Papua New Guinea.

It’s no “Guinea pig,” it’s real! Piñol argues the rice-farming potentials in Papua New Guinea are real and tremendous based on actual pilot results. This makes Piñol’s idea no longer a “guinea-pig experiment,” referring to how scientists use rodents or laboratory rats, popularly called “guinea pigs.”

Actual rice-farming experiments done in Papua New Guinea yielded 8.5 metric tons per hectare, even without fertilizers, even double our national average yield of 4MT per hectare, he revealed in conversations while seated at the BINHI awards.

The reasons for this are 1) Papua New Guinea is blessed with good rainfall with its remaining lush forests and watersheds as evidenced by its vast rivers as wide as a kilometer, and easily diverted to feed irrigation canals; and 2) Papua New Guinea’s farm soils are vastly virgin and rich, unlike Philippine rice lands that are already toxic from four to five decades of chemical fertilizer and pesticide usage.

All the land to offer. Papua New Guinea’s Prime Minister Peter O’Neil instantly offered 100,000 hectares for planting even starting tomorrow, but can develop easily 2 million hectares in government lands for rice farming with irrigation.

“PNG has only 8 million people and over 46.28 million hectares of land, mostly forest and agricultural lands, compared to our 105 million and 30 million hectares, respectively,” Piñol said.

Rice farming will mutually benefit both countries. Rice farming will be done exclusively by the private sector, but can tap Filipino workers. Any excess produce can be exported cheap to the Philippines, and any excess exported worldwide. For Papua New Guinea, producing its own rice is novel, as it had long been sourcing rice from former surrogate colonizer, Australia, which allegedly imports cheap rice from Vietnam, then sells it to Papua New Guinea by as much as P100 per kilo.

Pursuing the Papua New Guinea option is logical for Piñol, as we have limited rice lands of 4.8 million hectares. In fact, only 3.9 million hectares are planted to rice, of which only 1.2 million hectares have irrigation, the remaining 2.7 million hectares are rain-fed areas producing only once a year at low yields.

New sites, new sights? As an island archipelago, we have fewer flat lands suitable to rice producing thrice a year, but more sloping mountain areas with mixed eco-systems, including adjacent marine and mangrove areas. Piñol added traditional rice sites like Luzon and Bicol are ravaged yearly by 21 typhoons a year.

We won’t abandon these areas, but we need to develop new sites like Palawan, Samar, Agusan, Zamboanga, Davao, Basilan and Soccsksargen and, of course, in Papua New Guinea.

Piñol declared earlier that even former warzones in Mindanao and portions of military reservations like Fort Magsaysay’s 46,000 hectares, can be converted to production areas. This will realize the biblical phrase of “converting swords to ploughshares,” which we can call transforming arms into farms.

While Piñol is confident of hitting 100-percent rice self-sufficiency by 2020, he says the growing population will overtake our capacity to produce. Thus, the need to develop new sites, and the urgency to keep our sights on new ideas, new technologies and even achieve unintended opportunities, which, ironically, are the very intended targets of our economists and experts. As we gain from new sites, old sites may slowly shift to non-rice, but more profitable commodities and other agro-processing ventures.

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Disgraced judge Bernard Sakora resigns in latest move to avoid justice

February 12, 2018 6 comments

Disgraced Judge, Justice Sakora, has resigned to avoid facing court

Having seemingly already wriggled out of one corruption charge in the criminal courts, Justice Sakora has now resigned as a Judge [see story below] in order to close down formal misconduct investigations against him, by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission, and a separate Leadership Code Tribunal, instigated by the Ombudsman Commission.

Sakora’s criminal charge was in relation to his role in preventing the publication of the findings of the Commission of Inquiry into the Department of Finance which first revealed the role of Paul Paraka and his law firm in scamming millions of kina from the government. It is alleged Sakora received K100,000 from Paraka in return for granting the injunction. 

During the Finance Inquiry hearings, Sakora also granted an injunction to Messrs Gelu, Lupari and Lui, stopping investigations into their role in the Paraka scams. The injunctions were withdrawn after an appeal by the Commissioners.

Sakora was also recently heavily criticised by the Supreme Court over his awarding of almost K18 million in damages to Peter Yama and a further K5 in costs.  Both orders were revoked by the Supreme Court.

As the Leadership Tribunal investigating Sakora, which has been sitting since August and includes a New Zealand judge on the panel, will now have to be abandoned, the Justice Minister should reveal how much the Tribunal has cost.

Yet more tax payers money wasted while another white collar criminal walks free!

PNG Attorney General reveals judge’s resignation

Justice Minister and Attorney General, Davis Steven has revealed the resignation of senior judge, Justice Sir Bernard Sakora from the National and Supreme Courts.

In a statement today, Minister Steven says, he has advised the prime minister of Justice Sakora’s resignation.

The senior judge has given 25 years of service to the nation, making him the second longest current serving judge to the Deputy Chief Justice Salika.

Mr Steven says Justice Sakora resigned on his own accord, to take rest from public office.

Sir Bernard leaves a legacy behind in his strong punctuation of academic reasoning, and his grammatical flair sets his recorded decisions apart.

Minister Steven thanked Sir Bernard for serving the judiciary and the country as a judge.

The resignation of Justice Sakora effectively terminates formal investigations into misconduct allegations against him, initiated by the Judicial and Legal Services Commission, and a separate Leadership Code investigation process, instigated by the Ombudsman Commission.

NBC News/ PNG Today

Ten month delay on Manumanu inquiry is unacceptable

December 18, 2017 Leave a comment

Prime Minister Peter O’Neill has been vocal in the media recently telling anti-corruption warriors to be patient and wait for the results of an administrative inquiry into the alleged illegal Manumanu land deals – transactions involving millions of kina in state funds and hundreds of hectares of land.

See also:

But it has already been ten months since the scandal erupted in the media. It was early February when the Prime Minister promised three investigations, a Commission of Inquiry (later downgraded to an Administrative Inquiry) a police fraud squad investigation and an Ombudsman Commission inquiry.

Now the Prime Minister says the Administrative Inquiry is yet to complete its investigations and the results will be known in an ‘appropriate timeframe’ but given no clue as to what that means.

Meanwhile the people implicated in the scandal and their party are back at the heart of government and the police and Ombudsman Commission are completely silent.

Justice delayed is justice denied and we are all victims of government corruption; corruption that O’Neill is happy to see continue while he sits on his hands.

Cash strapped government moves Environment Dept into plush new office

November 15, 2017 3 comments

Peter O’Neill’s cash strapped government is moving it Conservation and Environment Protection Authority into plush new office accommodation in one of Port Moresby’s premier real estate developments.

The Savannah Heights complex on Waigani Drive is the new home for both CEPA and its sister organisation, the Climate Change Development Authority.

The two organisations will occupy the whole eight floors in one Savannah Heights tower; quite a step up from CEPA’s old accommodation in the B-Mobile building further down Waigani Drive.

The new accommodation costs are clouded in secrecy, but it is believed the government is paying at least K1,200 per square metre per month. With CEPA and CCDA spread over eight luxurious floors that could mean a bill of around K2 million a month or K24 million a year.

Other estimates have put the costs as high as K3.5 million a month or K42 million each year.

CEPA staff are rather bewildered by the move as CEPA relies on generous grants from aid donors like the United Nations and Japanese and Australian governments to maintain many of its functions.

Inside the new CEPA / CCDA building

Juffa slams ‘another logging scam’

November 1, 2017 2 comments

Inspection of Ifane Agro Forestry Project

Update by Gary Juffa via FaceBook

As usual as has been the case with such dubious projects done without the approval of my Office and the Provincial Executive Committee.

This is the other Forestry scam besides SABL: FCA – FOREST CLEARING AUTHORITY.

Here public servants in provinces corroborate with PNGFA officials and dubious “landowners” to award permits via the PNGFA BOARD to log chunks of land of 500 hectares to logging pirates on the pretext of “tree growing” and “agricultural projects”.

Thing is.. these are the same plunderers who pay no taxes and have planted no trees or a single agricultural species of plant or animal life for the last 20 – 30 years…

My inspection in reaction to landowner petitions revealed massive breaches of various laws including environmental, trespassing, labour, transport, migration and others.

I took Administration officials who confessed giving approvals without bringing to my attention first. The officials were showed the various areas of concern that the company blatantly logged in breach of various laws and instructed to act immediately and impose penalties.

Interviewed some of the landowners who all admitted they are “partners”.. but have not been paid.. despite truckloads of high value logs leaving their land.

Meanwhile a dispute remains as to who are actual landowners.

Instructed PNGFA and Administration to immediately furnish documents for the so called project, instruct company to cease operations until they pay fines for all breaches and we have investigated their legality of operations, inform all clans to congregate end of November to deliberate on damages and trespassing and compile case to sue for damages.

See also – Yet another unlawful attempt to log Collingwood Bay

Yet another unlawful attempt to log Collingwood Bay

October 28, 2017 1 comment

Collingwood Bay. Photo Eric Wakker

Industry observer: “This is a complete nonsense… a cocoa project simply doesn’t need a massive hectarage, involving massive forestry clearance and equipment… It’s clearly another completely fraudulent exercise, made easier by the lack of penalties imposed upon the existing SABL perpetrators”

By Lester Seri

The National Forest Authority has granted permission for logging in the Collingwood Bay area of Northern Province despite the strong opposition of local people.

This is the third attempt at large-scale commercial logging in the area, the two previous attempts having been successfully defeated through the courts.

It is understood Northern Forest Products Ltd and Aisor Development Corporation have been issued a Forest Clearance Authority (FCA) to log Portions 136, 137 and up to Baruga lands  and to the Musa river.

According to the maps seen, its seems the entire Collingwood Bay area is to be consumed by logging under the pretext of planting cocoa.

Local people have been given no information about the proposed logging and have not seen a copy of the FCA proposal, or any approval granted by the National Forest Board or the Forest Minister.

Requests to the Forest Authority for these documents have gone unanswered and local people are totally in the dark as to how the authorities could give approval without even consulting local people and without ensuring their consent.

Meanwhile a company (allegedly involving a Malaysian and some Wanigela landowners) has been landing logging equipment at  Wanigela since April this year. The equipment is being stored at Naukwat village, a home to one of the people known to have been directly involved in the illegal Collingwood Bay SABL that was declared illegal by the National Court in June 2014.

Collingwood Bay landowners are at a loss to understand the continuing defiance by the National Forest Authority to grant licences for logging concessions in their area despite court rulings after court ruling in favour of the landowners that span nearly 30 years.

There are rumours that the Provincial Government and the Administration are in support of a cocoa project in Collingwood Bay, and it is alleged that the new FCA and movement of logging machineries have their approval?

Questions asked are:

  1. Why have the landowners not been officially made aware of this government sanctioned cocoa project?
  2. Why does the cocoa planting require bulldozers, jinkers and graders, when the landowners need only knives, spades and axes to plant cocoa.

The Baruga landowners have already put up tabu markings stopping anybody moving into their private land.

The National Forest Authority has miserably failed many landowning communities’ in Papua New Guinea over the years and continues to do so in Collingwood Bay through the illegal SABL and now this suspect FCA.

The Collingwood Bay people have held community consultation forums since 2014 and have unanimously agreed to pursuing their own Community Conservation Initiative. This received final community approval in April 2017, and funding support has been secured.

It seems the National Forest Authority is intent on deliberately truncating / DESTROYING the Communities’ Conservation Initiative over 650,000 hectares of land by encouraging logging without the consent of the local people.

I AM OF THE STRONG VIEW THAT IT IS TIME FOR THE ENTIRE COLLINGWOOD BAY COMMUNITIES’ TO CONVERGE AT WANIGELA AND DEMAND AN EXPLANATION FROM THOSE CONCERNED, THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT AND THE ADMINISTRATION, AND THE RESPECTIVE FORESTRY OFFICES IN PORT MORESBY AND POPONDETTA.

Profiting from Sickness: The Dark Economy of Public Health in Papua New Guinea

September 6, 2017 Leave a comment

PNGi has released the first instalment of a three-part investigation into the abusive commercial transactions that are leading to the circulation of overpriced and substandard medicines and medical supplies and the waste of millions of Kina in desperately needed funding.

Life expectancy in PNG is twenty years lower than in Australia and the lowest in the region. Eight million people in Papua New Guinea live without access to decent health care and everyone feels the impacts.

If ever there was a sector which should be safeguarded by political leaders to ensure that services are provided in an effective and efficient manner, free from malfeasance, it is public health, but as the the PNGi investigation reveals, that is far from reality.

Profiting from Sickness focuses on controversial medical goods supplier, Borneo Pacific Pharmaceuticals Limited, its principal, Sir Sang Chung Poh, and a network of business people, former public servants and doctors, connected to him.

Part I of Profiting from Sickness puts the spotlight on Borneo Pacific Pharmaceuticals Limited itself.

It reveals allegations made against Borneo Pacific from a range of credible authorities, including the Medical Association of PNG, The Global Fund’s Inspector General, a Special Parliamentary Committee, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Solicitor General’s Office, the National Doctor’s Association, front-line medical workers, Professor Glen Mola, Governor Gary Juffa, and Sir Mekere Morauta.

The general pattern common to all these allegations, is that Borneo Pacific benefits from rigged or flawed tender processes, which come at a significant cost to donors and the public. Furthermore, the goods being provided through these flawed tenders, it is claimed, have been found wanting.

All of which, it is argued, result in Borneo Pacific make engorged profits at the public’s financial and physical expense.

The consequences of this alleged abusive behaviour could not be more serious. Rather than the public health system eroding health inequalities, it is exacerbating them and missing the opportunity to make inroads into primary health care that could make a significant impact on the quality and quantity of life enjoyed by ordinary citizens. This comes at an enormous cost to family life and the national economy.

Part II of Profiting from Sickness, to be published next week, will turn the spotlight on some of Sir Sang Chung Poh’s business partners. These include some of the country’s top physicians; some of who have been investigated for abuse of position in the health system, with extremely worrying results.

Part III will look at Poh’s wider business interests, which extend into many sectors of the economy and provide some interesting connections, even reaching as far as the Prime Minister himself.