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Malaysian oil palm firms eye Papua for expansion

Malaysian oil palm firms eye Papua for expansion

Malaysian oil palm firms eye Papua for expansion
September 26, 2008

Malaysian palm oil firms are looking to aggressively expand operations in Papua, the Indonesian part of New Guinea, reports Bernama.

The chairman of the Nabire district legislative assembly, Daniel Butu, said that investors are eyeing the region for industrial oil palm plantations. He added that assembly members hoped oil palm development would employment opportunities for Papuans.

"The district legislative assembly supports any company wishing to develop the people of Nabire including the Malaysian companies," he was quoted as saying by the Antara news agency. "We hope these investors would also set up factories that would process the raw materials into finished products such as soap, cooking oil and other cosmetic materials."

It is unclear whether the proposed oil palm development would be affected by a province-wide ban on logging.

Last December Papuan Provincial Governor Barnabas Suebu imposed a moratorium on logging in hopes that the emerging carbon market would offer better returns for the people of Papua. Logging and forest conversion for agriculture — especially oil palm and rubber plantations — are an important source of revenue for the province.

"Conversion of these spectacular forests to agribusiness would be a great loss," Governor Suebu said at the time. "I hope this approach can provide a new development path for the forests and people of the Province of Papua."


Malaysian palm oil industry accused of child slavery by Indonesia
(9/15/2008) Indonesia’s Commission for Child Protection has accused Malaysia’s oil palm planters of enslaving migrant workers and their children at plantations in the state of Sabah on the island of Borneo, reports The Jakarta Post. Arist Merdeka Sirait, secretary general of the commission, told the newspaper that a fact-finding team sent to Sabah discovered “tens of thousands of Indonesian migrant workers and their children had been ‘systematically enslaved,'” by Malaysian plantation owners.

Palm oil producers in Indonesia reject moratorium on forest destruction
(8/28/2008) Palm oil companies operating in Indonesia have rejected a proposed moratorium on clearing forests and peatlands for oil palm plantations, reports the Jakarta Post.

Malaysia targets Africa and the Amazon for oil palm expansion
(8/25/2008) Facing land scarcity at home and environmental complaints, Malaysian palm oil producers should look overseas to expand operations, a high-ranking Malaysian agricultural minister said Monday.

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