PNG OIL PALM FARMERS TAP NEW LOAN PROGRAM

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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Oct. 13) – The people of Alotau in Milne Bay yesterday became the first to reap the benefits of a new credit scheme for oil palm farmers in Papua New Guinea.

[PIR editor’s note: Alotau is located at the tip of the Papua New Guinea peninsula, southeast of the capital city of Port Moresby.]

The scheme will make available to Milne Bay farmers PGK2.4 million (US$824,400) from a partnership between the Rural Development Bank, the Oil Palm Industry Corporation, Milne Bay Estates and the Milne Bay Provincial Government.

A total of 132 oil palm farmers were the first to get letters of loan approval to signify the start of this new credit scheme.

Rural Development Bank chairman William Lamur said, under the scheme, loans of PGK10,000 (US$3,400) would be provided to farmers to start or expand their oil palm blocks on customary lands.

Mr. Lamur said the provincial government had provided a guarantee of PGK300,000 (US$103,000) to be held by the bank.

Under the deal, farmers can only sell their produce to Milne Bay Estates.

He said his board would like to see their portfolio in the village oil palm scheme grow to more than K10 million by next year.

Mr. Lamur said the Rural Development Bank was committed to supporting other provinces roll out similar schemes, based on the Milne Bay model, as soon as the Rural Development Bank receives the PGK15 million (US$5 million) that the Prime Minister had announced recently.

October 14, 2005

Papua New Guinea Post-Courier: www.postcourier.com.pg/

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