Astra investing Rp 2 trillion in North Maluku palm oil sector

TERNATE, North Maluku (Antara): Publicly-listed oil palm company PT Astra Agro Lestari will invest Rp2 trillion in palm oil plantation which will be built on 50,000 hectares of land in West Halmahera district, a local official has said.

"PT Astra has sent its officials for a survey before realizing its plan early 2008," the administration's spokesperson Kalbi Rasyid said here Friday.

PT Astra will utilize 10,000 hectares land out of the allocated 50,000 hectares for a pilot project which will involve local farmers.

Kalbi said PT Astra would not purchase the allocated land as it would hire the local farmers as plasma farmers.

The West Halmahera administration fully supported the project as it could create jobs for local people and improve local people's welfare, he said.

PT Astra Argo Lestari has so far become the first company which has engaged in oil palm plantation sector in North Maluku. Most of private firms in the province have engaged in mining, forestry and fishery sectors. (**)
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