SOLOMONS APPROVES MALAITA OIL PALM PROJECT

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, Jan. 28) – The Solomon Islands Cabinet yesterday gave its approval to a proposed oil palm project for Auluta Basin and East Fataleka in Malaita Province.

Minister for Agriculture and Livestock and East Kwaio Member of Parliament Alfred Sasako said the green light from Cabinet meant that preparatory work on the Auluta Oil Palm Project could begin.

"The Cabinet’s full blessing for this project, which will create very big benefits and huge economic spin-off, is very pleasing," Sasako said. "It is a multi-million dollar project so I hope Malaitans who have skills from working at the former SIPL will absorb some of the skills they have and put everything in the development of this project."

He added that the Cabinet’s approval also meant that the Department of Agriculture and Livestock now has the authority to use the $1.5 million allocated towards the project in the current fiscal budet.

Mr Sasako said that money would be used in technical assistance, meetings and other expenses towards the establishment of the project.

Sasako said his department’s task now would be to find an investor in the project.

He said at this stage the most important thing is the support of landowners and resource owners.

"The future of this project is in the hands of landowners and resource owners.

"If this project get off the ground then it will be the first major agriculture project in Malaita

"My department really want to see this project get off the ground because it will be the first major agriculture project in Malaita and I hope landowners have the same urgency to put something tangible towards this project," Mr Sasako said.

He then calls on all landowners of Auluta Basin and East Fataleka to support his ministry in its effort.

He said with the landowners support his ministry would ensure a MOU is signed with an investor before the end of the year.

Meanwhile, the minister said a further meeting regarding the project would be held on February 16 for landowners, government and provincial government representatives in Honiara.

January 31, 2005

Solomon Star: http://www.solomonstarnews.com/

 

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