THE Commodities Export Marketing Authority’s Revitalisation and Recapitalisation Strategy 2021-2027 says it wants a piece of land in Kira Kira, the Provincial Capital, to build its Buying Centre.
The Director of CEMA Cabinet Sub-Committee of the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Martin Housanau relayed the request to the Makira Ulawa Premier, Julian Maka’a and his Executive Ministers at a meeting he had with them in Kira Kira June 16, 2021.
He also relayed the same appeal to the Heads of Department of the Makira Ulawa Provincial Government when he met them after meeting with Premier Maka’a and his Executive.
Mr Housanau who led a CEMA Technical Working Team to Kira Kira said CEMA under the Revitalisation and Recapitalisation Strategy Programme, would want to build the Buying Centre in Kira Kira because the landowners of the land it had its old Buying Centre at Kaonasugu in West Bauro of Central Makira, have been disputing over it.
He said CEMA would not build Buying Centres on disputed sites. CEMA built the Kaonasugu Copra Buying Centre in the 80s, but stopped buying copra from producers when the National Parliament amended the CEMA Act to become a regulatory body.
Housanau said the amendment had impacted badly on both rural village and national economies as copra production thus copra export had halted.
But Housanau told the meeting that under the new programme, CEMA would build a new Buying Centre on a piece of land with more space as it would not buy only copra as had been the case in the past, but would also buy other agriculture products like cocoa, chilies, gingers, root crops like taro, yam and pana and of course, Makira people’s famous food, banana.
And in the long run, he said, CEMA would operate the Buying Centre under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) joint venture agreement with the Makira Ulawa Provincial Government.
Housanau said under such agreement, the Buying Centre would build a factory which would buy coconut oil products produced by coconut crushing mills around the Province for downstream processing to add value to the products and for export.
Meanwhile, Premier Maka’a welcomed the new approach by CEMA, because Makira Ulawa Province as an agriculture potential province, it would enable its resource owners and landowners to return to farming.
He agreed many coconut plantation owners had stopped producing copra and as a result their income earnings and livelihoods had been greatly affected.
But Provincial Finance Minister and MPA for Arosi Ward 8, Douglas Kuper while speaking on the land issue for the Buying Centre said if Kira Kira could not provide the site, the Provincial Government could consider moving the Buying Centre to Arosi in West Makira.
And Provincial Lands Minister, Jimmy Riunga said a site to build the Buying Centre in Kira Kira could be identified.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Government Land Reform Commission who was a member of the touring team of the CEMA Cabinet Sub-Committee of the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Andrew Manepora’a said the land for the Buying Centre must be secured because if there is no land, then there will be no development.
While in Makira, the team members also visited the Pakera Development Centre and Kokana Village along the West Makira Road.
By George Atkin