Customary Landowners interested in timber processing on SABL debated land

With all the hype happening around SABL, are we sure land owners are driven to timber processing projects? Could this be another SABL scheme on SABL debated land? It is important we know what we are inexpensively signing before everyone pays the hefty price of recouping one mans mistake. 

Picture: Operations in this area were not sought with consent from the landowners. One person acted on behalf of the majority. As such, landowners are in conflict among themselves.

Source: Jimmy Kalebe

A timber downstream processing company has showed interest to work in partnership with a local landowner company in East Sepik Province.

PNG Maxwell White a company engaged by Iba Wan Landowner Company has proposed to engage in downstream processing of timber on portion of land that is currently under much debate relating to Special Business Agriculture Lease.

The Australian owned company will work in partnership with Iba Wan a local landowning company of Ibap village in Turubu local level government area.

Philip Alis a landowner and resident of Ibap village said that if the operations are to be off the ground as proposed, it would create conflict of interest as other logging company is still operating on the same portion of land and also the land is still under much complaint through the court.

Picture courtesy of Jimmy Kalebe

He said portion 144c is currently being debated in court in order to give back the land titles to the landowners as it was found to be fraudulently taken by foreign corporations to do logging and oil palm.

The nullifying of portion 144c which covers an area of over 116, 000 hectares of forested land in Turubu and parts of Sausso by the national government in June last year took place after  a report was released by the commission of inquiry into Special Agriculture Business Lease (SABL) last year.

Mr Alis said majority of the landowners are confused as to how this project will take place and that prior proper awareness was not conducted by the landowning company or the timber processing company.

Picture: A local landowner of Ibab Tring village explaining his dissatisfaction over the destruction done to his ancestors' old grave yard and the land boundry seperating two clans of Tring village Turubu LLG.

He said currently Limawo Holdings Limited (LHL) a landowner company with its foreign counterpart have been logging the area claiming to develop oil palm. LHL has also planted some thousands of hectares of oil palm. Some of which have bear fruit over the last 2years and the fruits are decomposing on field or destroyed elsewhere as processing facilities are not in place.

The Malaysian based logging company operating as Brilliant has sifted 59 shipment of round logs at a volume of 6,000 CM3/shipment.

Picture: Logs being stockpiled and tagged ready for transportation to the log area at Mundomundo for shipment.

Damages done to the environment under such operations are massive, benefits to the landowning groups are very much slim and promises of improved living standards have never eventuated over the last 6 years of logging operations.

The landowner further stated that they are happy with the downstream processing of timber, but it is sad that the volume of forested land that they have could not sustain and meet the demands of importers in a long run.

He added that Iba Wan as a landowner company should be more precise on such operations as it will place people’s lives at risk especially as their livelihoods are more depended on land and its resources.