Prime Minister Marape Confirms Government Support for Cocoland Sugar Development Project

Thursday 23 May 2024

Prime Minister Hon. James Marape today confirmed Government’s   support to the proposed high-impact Cocoland Sugar Development Project in Abau, Central Province, which will be developed as a Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

Mr Marape  further urged all districts and provinces with large tracts of land to collaborate with landowners to allocate these lands for agriculture and livestock purposes.

 “My government is very happy that a reputable Thai company, Yaosoeng Sugar and Cane Consultant Company Ltd, is in Papua New Guinea to invest here,” Prime Minister Marape said.

 “The proposal is for a 40,000-hectare sugar farm, processing mill, and a power plant. “The developer confirmed that our soil and climatic conditions are far better than Thailand for growing sugar.”

This follows a very successful trial in Abau on the proposed sugar farmland.

According to Mr Marape, the plantation will produce three million tonnes of sugar annually with the target market being Papua New Guinea and other countries, especially Indonesia.

“We are looking forward to this project to not only develop a township but also create over 20,000 jobs and significant business opportunities for the landowners who will be planting sugarcane as out-growers and supplying the sugar mill.”

 It is further reported this project will deliver a 45-megawatt power project that will be used for the sugar mill, with the remaining 20 megawatts to be sold to PNG Power Ltd to provide cheap and reliable power in Abau District.

 “Our government is keen on this project because apart from producing sugar for export to other countries, especially Indonesia, it will also bring competition which we hope will bring down the price of sugar in PNG.

“ We need more of such projects and developments. I want to assure the investor that the Port Moresby-Alotau Road captured under the Connect PNG Programme will run past the proposed project area with the road running through the project area to be upgraded and sealed with work already started.”

Minister for International Trade and Investment, Hon. Richard Maru, has been tasked to bring to Cabinet a submission for this project to be approved.

“The Government will appoint a State Negotiating Team (SNT) to negotiate a Project Agreement with the State when concept approval for this SEZ project is given by the NEC in the coming weeks,” Prime Minister Marape said.

The SNT will negotiate a project agreement between the State and the developer. Issues like landowner equity, State equity, and Benefit Sharing Agreement will be agreed to and sealed in the Project Agreement.

“Only after the Project Agreement with the State is signed, can the developer apply for an SEZ license from the Special Economic Zone Authority (SEZA).

 “I acknowledge the Member for Abau, Hon. Sir Puka Temu, and his people for supporting this transformational project for Abau District, which will include the building of a new township and the new export wharf off Baramatta in Cloudy Bay LLG of Abau District,” added Prime Minister Marape.

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