11 Sep 2012

Malaitans responding to development message: Solomons deputy PM

12:56 pm on 11 September 2012

Solomon Islands' deputy prime minister says people in Malaita have come to realise that offering their land to the government for development is the only way to progress.

Manasseh Maelanga's comment follows a ceremony in which the government handed 10 tribes in East Malaita Perpetual Estate titles to their land so it can be used for palm oil plantations.

The Auluta Palm Oil Project is the province's first major economic development project in 34 years of independence but land issues have frustrated several years of effort to get it underway.

Mr Maelanga says the government is to lease about six-thousand hectares of land and now needs investors.

"People now start to know that it's time for them to start developing their land. That's the only way that they can get something, I mean like, helping them and helping their people, their tribes and all these. So they're really happy."

Manasseh Maelenga says although the government still needs more land for the project the aim is to start planting the land it has already acquired by early next year.