Communal land ownership blamed

Communal land ownership blamed

hawk~eye
hawk~eye

December 3rd, 2004, 7:39 am #1

Communal land ownership blamed

Communal land ownership has been identified as a primary reason for deprivation in rural Pacific communities.
Australian National University emeritus professor Helen Hughes says communal land ownership provides some food security, but at a very low level and at the cost of agricultural productivity and output.
She said the Pacific rural communities rapidly took up crops from coffee to vanilla to earn an income from agriculture.
But she said the output of principal export crops declined throughout the Pacific in the mid 1980s.
Professor Hughes said communal land leasing by indigenous Fijians to Indian Fijian sugar farmers resulted in ethnic conflict over land rents.
Indigenous Fijian villagers received high rents from sugar leases while sugar exports were subsidised by the European Union, but these subsidies were phased out.
She said that Tolukuma Gold Mine Ltd tried making an arrangement to provide the villagers with an agricultural future by producing fruits and vegetables for the Port Moresby market but communal land ownership scuttled the project, typically of 30 years of efforts to supply Port Moresby with food.
“Communal ownership of land has facilitated corruption in timber exports, with large losses of tax revenues and failures and replant forests resulting in environmental degradation in PNG, Solomon Islands, Fiji and Vanuatu,” she said.
She said socialists within and outside the Pacific support the “big men” who do not want to lose their privileged positions in the economy and in society.
She said the Morauta government in PNG found it impossible to introduce land reform when urban socialists, headed by local and expatriate university staff and their students marshalled their position to reform.
“Accumulated experience and modern technology have made land reform possible with low costs and high returns,” she said.
“A variety of new approaches and techniques that will be attractive to significant groups within traditional communities can be developed once it is understood that continuing communal ownership of land means continuing stagnation,” she said.

Comments:

Prof Hughes you are, really, naive and ignorant. Just come clear with your agenda of Land Mobilisation. I would beat the crap out of you if I had the chance.

She has no idea of the value and significance of land in PNG society. It is what holds our culture togther. What right has she got?

She is culturally insensitive and has no culture of her own cept capitalism and greed. We must find our own method of addressing this challenge so as to safe-guard our identity!

On what should we place more value on? Profit of social welfare and our culture?

<~)
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Joined: January 30th, 2003, 3:42 am

December 4th, 2004, 5:07 am #2


In my humble opinion ...theres no eaquation in economics that can put a value to my land...what do i gain if all my land is lost in economic incentives just because of some outside ideology ? what about the post incentives ? an unlikely uncertainty paradox thats reaps and leaves everyone in despare when land is measured as an index for a better future....

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Anonymous
Anonymous

December 4th, 2004, 5:48 am #3

Communal land ownership blamed

Communal land ownership has been identified as a primary reason for deprivation in rural Pacific communities.
Australian National University emeritus professor Helen Hughes says communal land ownership provides some food security, but at a very low level and at the cost of agricultural productivity and output.
She said the Pacific rural communities rapidly took up crops from coffee to vanilla to earn an income from agriculture.
But she said the output of principal export crops declined throughout the Pacific in the mid 1980s.
Professor Hughes said communal land leasing by indigenous Fijians to Indian Fijian sugar farmers resulted in ethnic conflict over land rents.
Indigenous Fijian villagers received high rents from sugar leases while sugar exports were subsidised by the European Union, but these subsidies were phased out.
She said that Tolukuma Gold Mine Ltd tried making an arrangement to provide the villagers with an agricultural future by producing fruits and vegetables for the Port Moresby market but communal land ownership scuttled the project, typically of 30 years of efforts to supply Port Moresby with food.
“Communal ownership of land has facilitated corruption in timber exports, with large losses of tax revenues and failures and replant forests resulting in environmental degradation in PNG, Solomon Islands, Fiji and Vanuatu,” she said.
She said socialists within and outside the Pacific support the “big men” who do not want to lose their privileged positions in the economy and in society.
She said the Morauta government in PNG found it impossible to introduce land reform when urban socialists, headed by local and expatriate university staff and their students marshalled their position to reform.
“Accumulated experience and modern technology have made land reform possible with low costs and high returns,” she said.
“A variety of new approaches and techniques that will be attractive to significant groups within traditional communities can be developed once it is understood that continuing communal ownership of land means continuing stagnation,” she said.

Comments:

Prof Hughes you are, really, naive and ignorant. Just come clear with your agenda of Land Mobilisation. I would beat the crap out of you if I had the chance.

She has no idea of the value and significance of land in PNG society. It is what holds our culture togther. What right has she got?

She is culturally insensitive and has no culture of her own cept capitalism and greed. We must find our own method of addressing this challenge so as to safe-guard our identity!

On what should we place more value on? Profit of social welfare and our culture?

<~)
If people like Helen Hughes is the sort of ‘expert’ they have then all the better for the people of the Pacific…

Someone tell her LAND is ((((NON-NEGOTIABLE))))!!! However they dress it, undress it, redress it, package it, repackage it, under what disguise, camouflage, fig leaf, it is ((((NON-NEGOTIABLE))))!!!.

NEVER EVER be duped into selling or using as a collateral your Land. There’s no price to it. Its akin to your SOUL and your DIGNITY.


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Anonymous
Anonymous

December 4th, 2004, 1:50 pm #4

Communal land ownership blamed

Communal land ownership has been identified as a primary reason for deprivation in rural Pacific communities.
Australian National University emeritus professor Helen Hughes says communal land ownership provides some food security, but at a very low level and at the cost of agricultural productivity and output.
She said the Pacific rural communities rapidly took up crops from coffee to vanilla to earn an income from agriculture.
But she said the output of principal export crops declined throughout the Pacific in the mid 1980s.
Professor Hughes said communal land leasing by indigenous Fijians to Indian Fijian sugar farmers resulted in ethnic conflict over land rents.
Indigenous Fijian villagers received high rents from sugar leases while sugar exports were subsidised by the European Union, but these subsidies were phased out.
She said that Tolukuma Gold Mine Ltd tried making an arrangement to provide the villagers with an agricultural future by producing fruits and vegetables for the Port Moresby market but communal land ownership scuttled the project, typically of 30 years of efforts to supply Port Moresby with food.
“Communal ownership of land has facilitated corruption in timber exports, with large losses of tax revenues and failures and replant forests resulting in environmental degradation in PNG, Solomon Islands, Fiji and Vanuatu,” she said.
She said socialists within and outside the Pacific support the “big men” who do not want to lose their privileged positions in the economy and in society.
She said the Morauta government in PNG found it impossible to introduce land reform when urban socialists, headed by local and expatriate university staff and their students marshalled their position to reform.
“Accumulated experience and modern technology have made land reform possible with low costs and high returns,” she said.
“A variety of new approaches and techniques that will be attractive to significant groups within traditional communities can be developed once it is understood that continuing communal ownership of land means continuing stagnation,” she said.

Comments:

Prof Hughes you are, really, naive and ignorant. Just come clear with your agenda of Land Mobilisation. I would beat the crap out of you if I had the chance.

She has no idea of the value and significance of land in PNG society. It is what holds our culture togther. What right has she got?

She is culturally insensitive and has no culture of her own cept capitalism and greed. We must find our own method of addressing this challenge so as to safe-guard our identity!

On what should we place more value on? Profit of social welfare and our culture?

<~)
Read the full article at www.cis.org.au/

The person concerned do have some valid points although she may be less considerate of cultural links to land in Melanesia generally.

Sam
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Anonymous
Anonymous

December 6th, 2004, 3:40 am #5

Prof. Hughes has absolutely no connection to the land, therefore, she doesn't know the significant of land to its inhabitants. She is just influencing the Pacific Islanders to convert land into cash(comodities). Does it matter Hughes or the Islanders? What are the long-term effects when land is converted??

Serious PNGan
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Anonymous
Anonymous

December 6th, 2004, 9:22 am #6

The current satus of land ownership has gotten us no-where. The points made by Helen Hughes does make some sense and is not totally out of context but inline with economic efficiency. It is related to land and productivity, living standards and economic and social progress. It however sees cultural links to land (communal land ownership) as an impediment to economic growth and social progress.

Following Hughes judgments, think for instance, if you are an expatriate or local businessman/woman trying to invest in PNG what would be your biggest huddle apart from crime, lack of capital and infrastructure?

Communal land ownership with undefined boundaries are a cause of many disputes and tribal conflicts while co-operative societies and land-owner companies based on clan land ownership have benefited few and failed many throughout PNG.

If we keep following the stauts co, we will remain a primitive society scared of parting with our past, while multinationals will keep exploiting us foverver. We must implement reforms that may allow indigenous individuals to fully participate in land based commercial activities using land to generate income and improving productivity.

The issues of land in PNG is however very complicated and more discussions and awarness is needed untill a viable solution can be found.
However, untill changes are made most of PNG's population will remain in subsistance agriculture with low incomes and limited access to health and education.

Thanks
Sam

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Kang Ambe
Kang Ambe

December 7th, 2004, 5:11 am #7

If you will look at Tanzania or any other country that has had the implementation of the SAP by the World Bank - they are no better off now than they were before. Land mobilization was one of them.

I understand the transitional costs should land be made state-owned. The social impacts would be devastating on the generation that has to adapt to this new lifestyle should there be no immediate substitute like social benefits and immediate mass production by factories.

My security is my land. I know that I can return to the land should all else fail. What do the Aussies have, English and Americans have ¨C social benefits? They have poverty-stricken people who have no sense of belonging as their village and community have moved because they really don't belong anywhere as a community.

Knowing that culture is dynamic ¨C and that economic decisions have to be made at the cost of such aspects - is true to a degree but not to the degree that I understand you are advocating.

Yes, we are living in a global world and yes ¨C the western world and its notion of capitalism (which produces individualism) that is being aggressively campaigned through the media ¨C seems to be the only way to go and there is no other WAY or OPTION to better handle this dilemma? I think not. Complete PROPAGANDA!! what research have they done to back this notion?

More money, better houses, more factories, mass production, individualism, better health services, better schools ¨C DO I BELIEVE ALL THIS CAN ONLY BE ACHIEVED THROUGH MY FORGOING MY CULTURE, MY COMMUNITY and quite frankly who I am? There are options that can be explored without having to rush to the greedy ideologies of the great corporations that just can¡¯t wait to get their hands on PNG¡¯s goodies.

There is no way I want to be like the STATES, AUSTRALIA, ENGLAND and all other western countries that hold onto some abstract ideology as their dentity. Their cultures are different from ours from the beginning to now. Yes, they evolved but they are distinctly different to us from the beginning. THEY WERE NEVER LIKE US AT ANY STAGE IN THEIR HISTORY and connection to their land.

Why do we undermine and make insignificant our connection to the land? WHY? Are you American? Are you Australian? Are you English? NO WE NEVER WERE AND WE NEVER WILL BE.

I see us to be more like the Middle East. Our community-oriented approach to life because of land, provinces, villages and extended family members prevents many social problems that are rampant in the western countries. We do have our social problems as well ¨C but they are brought on I believe primarily through our governments lack of management. It has got nothing to do with lack of mass production etc ¨C Singapore has nothing but is a great tourist hub. WHY????

Has Japan forgone any of its culture to become successful? Has Iran or many of the Middle Eastern countries forgone their cultural values to become more west and capitalised? Instead of just bowing down to the simple solutions of the greedy few who have nothing but profit on their minds ¨C LETS explore all other options. And believe me there are ways, strategies that can strike a balance between each that can produce economical growth without having to give in to the Americanisation that is happening in the world today.

Better health, better houses, more money = DOES NOT EQUAL BETTER QUALITY OF LIFE!!!!!!! Really it does not. You can have all that and all the social problems that come along with it. The grass may seem greener on the other side but it¡¯s the same thing. No one is better than the other. Same set of ¡®problems¡¯ in a different supposedly ¡°BETTER¡± context.

I could go on and on ¨C and I can back up everything I am saying with facts if you want.




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Anonymous
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December 8th, 2004, 1:39 am #8

The current satus of land ownership has gotten us no-where. The points made by Helen Hughes does make some sense and is not totally out of context but inline with economic efficiency. It is related to land and productivity, living standards and economic and social progress. It however sees cultural links to land (communal land ownership) as an impediment to economic growth and social progress.

Following Hughes judgments, think for instance, if you are an expatriate or local businessman/woman trying to invest in PNG what would be your biggest huddle apart from crime, lack of capital and infrastructure?

Communal land ownership with undefined boundaries are a cause of many disputes and tribal conflicts while co-operative societies and land-owner companies based on clan land ownership have benefited few and failed many throughout PNG.

If we keep following the stauts co, we will remain a primitive society scared of parting with our past, while multinationals will keep exploiting us foverver. We must implement reforms that may allow indigenous individuals to fully participate in land based commercial activities using land to generate income and improving productivity.

The issues of land in PNG is however very complicated and more discussions and awarness is needed untill a viable solution can be found.
However, untill changes are made most of PNG's population will remain in subsistance agriculture with low incomes and limited access to health and education.

Thanks
Sam
Response to Sam's article dated 6th Dec. Helen Huges and other PNGans though that traditional land ownership is the obstacle to development and the rest are supporting in the name of development or progress. What kind of development are they talking about and who are going to benefit? Lets be realistic here in figuring out the percent of population etc. We can't simply saying that customary land owning system is obstacle to the development or progress. We need to identify the social consequences and the economic benefits. Most PNGans about(80%)are living on their land and it's the only means of survival.

The government does not necessairy have to adapt policies from outside to define land boundaries and register for commercial interest. Does the government have the capacity to introduce social security such as "dole system" in western countries? Land is social and food security for most PNGans.

There are so many loopholes in the governming system that we need to talk baout it, such as in effective and malfunction administrations which leading to corruptions, stealing etc.

Pngans
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hawk~eye
hawk~eye

December 8th, 2004, 7:00 am #9

Look at the US, they can barely manage their social security. Who wants to grow old and have to be put in an old persons home; or who wants to lose their job and beg on the streets.
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Anonymous
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December 9th, 2004, 11:03 am #10

The Goverment wants to build a road-give us compensation first, hospitals, aid-posts and schools are threatend with closure unless land compensation demands are met. These are stories you read from the papers many times over.

Land in PNG does not neccessarily have to be state owned, and reforms do not neccessarily have to be from outside forces. By development I mean economic growth lead by the private sector which may lead to income and job creation, improvement in living standards and access to better health care and education. We cannot afford to let the majority of our people live in subsistance agriculture with limited acess to health care and education for the rest of their lives. We must reduce our reputation as having the highest infant mortality and maternity death rate in the whole of Asia Pacific. We must prevent our children from dying from preventable diseases and give them good education that will help them manage their environment minimise the impacts of slash and burn techniques in subsistance farming which is changing the rural lanscape. Reforms that free up land and provide a source of income for many in rural PNG is one way people can overcome these obstacles.

Unfortunately Good Health Care + Good Education + a Good Source of Income do lead to a better quality of life for most unless you have an oversupply and becomes sick of it. This is common knowledge. In PNG such thing is a rare commodity. I was one of the lucky ones, I was born in a modern rural hospital with nurses attending, I attended a good community school went to high school and university, my dad had a good source of income and was able to make this possible. Unfortunately many of my comrades in high school from villages could could not make it, most could not pay their fees. They did not go back to their villages but became part of the urban drift ending up in squatter settlements and engaging in illicit actvities to sustain their living. For those who want to move back to villages after urban life has failed them, good on you. However, the current trend of movement is in the opposite direction beacuse there is no land based productive activity in rural ares. These people are caught up in a spiraling circle of poverty and social problems and go to extreme means of making a living. How do we prevent this problem?

The development of commercial plantations on land obtained from natives by German colonial planters left the people of New Britain and New Ireland with viable industries that are able to economically sustain them. These people now enjoy one of the highest living standards in the whole of PNG. Up in the Highlands with the exception of some viable plantations in EHP and Tea Plantations in WHP, we have seen the failure of Gumanch and Waghi-Mek plantations which provide for the livelihood of thousands of people due to tribal land conflicts under commuanl land systems. New Britain Palm Oil in WNBP provides livelihood for thousands of small holders and local villages. They could not however extend their operations in PNG because they could not find viable land without going through difficult time consuming negotiation process. They have however moved to the Solomon Islands where old plantaions are being revived. The National Forest Service in Bulolo, MP, plants large accers of plantaion forests that supply the massive timber and plywood mills of PNG Forests Products. The timber industry caters for thousands of jobs and source of livelihood for the almost ten thousand plus people of Bulolo Town and nearby areas. The Forest Service could have planted more plantations if not for landowner conflicts and disputed boundaries. Large acers of logged land now remain as wasted grassland where no crops can grow. This are examples of labour intensive agro-forestry activities that could have been more succesfull under a more efficient land tenure system.

If we however persist with communal land ownership, we should at least lease out land or find a solutiont that may enhance productivity. Economic growth outside of mining and petrolium industry cannot accelerate unless land is being freed up for productive purposes. Agriculture is PNG's strenght and will remain so for decades to come. It is the only hope of millions of impoverished rural people of PNG.

Communal Socialist policies have failed all over the world. China has realised this and has implemented reforms that was favourable to investment allowing mass creation of jobs and lifting millions out of poverty. Globalisation and capitalism has taken hold of the world and PNG is caught up with it there is no going back to the drawing board but strive for the better. We dont have to adpot Western capitalism or way of life, look at our Asian neighbours, who have been succesfull in modernising their economies while maintaning their cultures.

I still stand by my opinion that unless we implement major reforms relating to land, most Papua New Guineans will remain in poverty and subsistance agriculture.

Sam
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