By MALUM NALU
Department of Agriculture and Livestock has turned forester, venturing into the forests of Papua New Guinea with forest clearance authority (FCA) projects, saying that it is part of “wealth creation under Vision 2050”.
These cover “oil palm” and “cocoa” projects, among others, however, skeptical landowners and people of Papua New Guinea now see it as a front for logging.
According to a department FCA update, obtained by media, “one of its responsibilities is to provide leadership in overseeing coordination, assessment and approval of integrated agriculture agro-forestry projects (defined as Forest Clearance Authority) of the government”.
“The FCA agro-forestry projects are essential interventions that support the medium-term objectives of the National Agriculture Development Plan (NADP) as these projects have profound impact on the PNG economy and bring in immediate benefit to the resource owners in the rural communities,” it said.
“The production targets across all agricultural commodities set by the National Development Strategic Plan (NDSP) 2010-2030 can only be realised by increasing rehabilitation of existing croplands and new development of virgin land.
“The integrated agro-forestry projects provide an appropriate strategic intervention as poverty and economic corridor projects with ‘far-reaching’ contribution towards achieving these outcomes and targets.
“However, it is also imperative for increased awareness as planning based on environmental sustainability, climate adaption and compatible development come to fore.”
The update says to date, 32 projects have been registered and 17 have received DAL approval.
“Fourteen of these approved projects have been issued FCA by PNG Forest Authority (PNGFA) and have progressed with initial project development activities,” it says.
“Sixteen projects are in the process of being assessed and listed as pending projects.
“By land use, there are 20 oil palm projects, seven have been approved and have commenced development.
“There are eight cocoa projects, seven have commenced development.”