THE Ok Tedi Development Foundation has moved a giant step closer towards achieving its economic development sector goals by securing an eaglewood patent and rubber licences for the benefit of Community Mine Continuation Agreement (CMCA) and all other communities in the Western Province.

OTDF chief executive officer Ian Middleton recently signed an “Exclusive License Patent Agreement” with Cultivated Agarwood Limited (CAL) providing exclusive rights to the agarwood producing CA Kit technology in PNG through to 2041.

Subsequent to the signing of the agreement Mr Middleton led a delegation of partners that presented to and secured a licence from the PNG Rubber Board to buy cup lump rubber and export creped rubber sheets from Western Province.

Fly Eaglewood and Fly Rubber are two newly incorporated companies approved by the OTDF Board of Directors in July 2016 to manage these initiatives. Fly Rice has also been incorporated for rice development in the Province.

The companies were formed as part of OTDF’s Livelihood Development Package programme, which is a core component of OTDF’s Economic Development sector and new 2016-2020 Strategic Direction.

This direction that has the support of the Western Province Administration and incorporates the development of Provincial Government nominated growth centres such as Lake Murray and Aiambak.

Mr Middleton said while the LDP programme focuses on three primary packages (rubber, eaglewood and rice), OTDF also recognises the need to provide alternate support to South Fly delta villages (fisheries) and mine villages (chicken egg production).

“This is premised on the opportunity to scale up production, provide access to processing within Western Province and providing a guaranteed export market that enables farmers to earn a regular cash income and reducing their dependence on the annual compensation payments from the Ok Tedi Mine,” Mr Middleton said.

“The LDP programme provides the opportunity to scale up production beyond subsistence levels through a more diverse range of primary products, in rubber, eaglewood and rice,” he said.

Mr Middleton said that moving from food security to commercial agriculture and forestry production delivers on the OTDF vision of improving financial self-sustainability and improving the quality of life of our CMCA community partners.

“This concept is the cornerstone in developing widespread Small Medium Enterprise’s in the communities.

“The LDP concept is contingent on OTDF securing the best possible partners and to date these include Business for Development (international agri-business NGO), OLAM (world’s largest commodity trader), Pacific Forest Alliance (sandalwood expertise and REDD consultant), and Lotic Bige Limited (large OTML/landowner JV company).”

Mr Middleton said OTDF is able to play an effective role in supporting the implementation of the LDP programme without the necessary licensing for purchasing cup lump rubber, processing and exporting creped rubber sheets nor securing the exclusive rights to the Cultivated Agarwood Kit technology that is essential to producing agarwood from the Eaglewood tree.

“With these secured OTDF has started the construction of permanent eaglewood seedling nurseries with 100,000 seeds being delivered from Vietnam throughout September and expects to begin construction of a rubber.”

Mr Middleton also added that the communities were excited and they are looking forward to supporting and receiving long term sustainable benefits from these initiatives.