24 Feb 2004

Solomon Islands government reassuring palm oil investors that land issues will be resolved

7:48 pm on 24 February 2004

The Papua New Guinea company considering reopening the Solomon Islands Plantation's oil palm operation on Guadalcanal, has been assured by the Government there should be no land tenure issues.

The invitation to the New Britain Palm Oil Company is part of a push by the Solomons government to restart the economy.

The oil palm plantation shut down in 1999 during the ethnic crisis, amid intimidation and destruction of property.

The PNG company says it is mindful of the difficulties that could arise due to land disputes and it wants to clarify the tenure status of the plantation land to avoid any clashes.

The Solomons Permanent Secretary of Agriculture, Edward Kingmele, says he is hopeful no such problems will arise.

"I'm assured by my colleague in the department of lands that they are doing everything possible so that identification of the rightful owners are being registered so therefore no more land disputes should emerge."

Mr Kingmele says the Government's aim is to have the plantation operational by mid-year.