Photographer's Note

The island of New Britain, is home to the largest oil palm plantations in Papua New Guninea (PNG). Palm oil, an edible oil and ingredient in a huge number of processed food and industrial products, is now PNG's most valuable export. In a country with one of the highest rates of poverty in Asia and the Pacific, such an export would on the surface be considered a "good thing". Unfortunately, the wealth derived from the production of palm oil is concentrated in the hands of the processing companies. Each bunch seen in the picture would yield a worker about US$0.10 from one of the processing companies, to assemble such a pile would take a family a day's work, thus a family might earn around US$2 for such work. In West New Britain, one of the more remote parts of PNG, one kilogram of rice costs US$1. In 2003 PNG's three palm oil companies made close to US$80 million profit.

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Additional Photos by Jasper Goss (jasper) Silver Note Writer [C: 6 W: 0 N: 45] (94)
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