Three communities in the Obura-Wonenara District of the Eastern Highlands Province have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Coffee Industry Corporation (CIC) to kick start coffee development work in their respective localities.
The signing of the MOU signifies the start of the Incorporated Land Group (ILG) coffee pilot project which will enable landowners to register their customary lands for their clans and make it available for commercial activities under the revised government land reform policies.
A high-level team of representatives from the Department of Lands & Physical Planning, Department of Treasury, Department of National Planning & Monitoring, Civil Identity and Registry (CIR) and the Magisterial Services accompanied the CIC team to the three villages in the Obura-Wonenara District during the recent MOU signing. CIC Team Leader for the ILG pilot project, Dr Sengere said the project aims to rehabilitate run-down and or develop new coffee plantations through the Incorporated Land Groups and the subsequent Voluntary Customary Land Registration processes.
The selected pilot project sites who signed the MOU are Wopepa and Onamuna villages (Ward 7) and Tairora (Ward 18) all within the Tairoa-Gudsup LLGs of the Obura-Wonenara District.
CIC Acting Chief Executive officer Charles Dambui acknowledged the support of community leaders in the respective villages for embracing the project and allowing officers to move freely during the initial stage of the awareness exercise.
“I would like to acknowledge the support of clan leaders for assisting our officers and for making sure we come to this stage to sign the MOU.” Dambui thanked coffee farmers in the area who continue to keep the coffee business going. He told the community that his team of officers were ready to implement the project and they should not hesitate to ask for clarification should there be any problems faced during the implementation phase.
Director for Customary Land Registration Division from the Department of Lands and Physical Planning, Andy Marlo said Papua New Guinea is blessed to have most of its customary land still with the landowners unlike other countries where the government owns most of the land for development.
Marlo said registering of ILGs have been trialled in provinces like New Ireland and West New Britain and have been successful. He said landowners have benefited through leasing their land to corporate companies.
Magistrate Cliveson Philip urged the three communities to be patient with the signing of the MOUs for the project to be fully implemented. He said the community leaders had an important role to play in getting everyone’s consent in the community. “If that is not done, the pilot project cannot proceed. Go back, explain to all your clans members, and get everyone’s support. This is a 3- year pilot project and the success of it will depend on everyone to work together to get it off the ground.”
Before the planting of new coffee trees and or rehabilitation of run-down plantations to take place, partners like CIR and Lands & Physical Departments will move in to assist you. Once these two partners complete that process, you can expect more opportunities through benefit sharing.
Wopepa community representative Rodney Marato thanked CIC and partners for enabling this new project to be trialled in his village. “My community and I are happy about this opportunity. We hope that once the primary purpose of this project is achieved, other assistance in the areas of better roads and water supply, electricity, aid posts and other basic needs could be addressed as well.”
APPROVED FOR RELEASE:
Acting Chief Executive Officer