PNG LANDOWNERS DEMAND $365,000 FROM COFFEE FARM

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Roadblocks set up at Western Highlands estate

By David Muri PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (PNG Post-Courier, Feb. 1, 2010) - THE Kuli Tinglamb people are setting up roadblocks and demanding a massive 1 million kina [US$365,000] compensation for the Kuri Estate in Western Highlands Province in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

The thriving 98 hectares Arabica coffee plantation on the plains of the fertile Wahgi valley in the Anglimp District is being reclaimed by the landowners, allegedly for non payment of dividends by two separate management companies over a period spanning a decade.

Landowner spokesman Julian Anjip alleged that the principal landowners had made a consensus agreement plan with previous owners Simon Norum in 2001 and Paul Pora of Highlands Arabicas in 2006 over issues regarding the management of the estate.

According to Anjip, the understanding of the consensus with the two previous owners was to allow them to maintain their management companies to continue running the plantation until the landowners were financially ready to take over the management themselves. But he said landowners were not paid any dividends despite the plantation enjoying full production for the last 10 years, thus forcing them to close the gates and stopping them from working.

Anjip added that the Kuli Tinglambs are legitimate owners of the plantation as it was on a piece of state land being consecutively vacated by various developers.

In a letter to Highlands Arabicas dated January 12, 60 landowners have demanded the company to refrain from carrying out further operations and to pay them 1million kina [US$365,000], that is 100,000 kina [US$36,500] for each year for the last 10 years.

The 14 days notice lapsed yesterday and the landowners have indicated they will seek legal action.

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