Behemoths' land banking efforts stutter?

"Sime Darby’s expansion into Liberia may have hit some road blocks. It was reported that citizens from more than 15 towns and villages near Sime Darby Plantation in Grand Cape Mount County have threatened that the company would face stiff resistance if it intends any further extension of its concession. Not yet known at this point is the size of the area affected as portion to Sime’s 200,000ha concession land." (ECMLibra research report, 18 July 2011)

Khor Reports comments:

a) SE Asian plantations have taken a great interest in West Africa, Papua and other 'tougher' regions, to extend their land banks. Various problems have been reported with these major expansion efforts.

b) Sime Darby is reported facing some resistance from locals in Liberia (article above). The plantation behemoth had also sought to extend its interests in Sarawak, Malaysia, by offering larger stakes to local landholders - but we hear that some of these efforts may have gone 'on hold' for various reasons.

c) Golden Agri is also looking to develop 220,000 ha in Liberia via the USD1.6 billion deal with Golden Veroleum (the land area was initially reported as a 500,000‐acre palm oil plantation in the southeast of the country).3 September 2010: Golden Agri said its “subsidiary Golden VerOleum would form a partnership with the Government of Liberia in a palm oil project… for the cultivation of sustainable palm oil by the company and by Liberian smallholders and farmers, mill processing and value‐added manufacturing…The investment is expected to total USD1.6 billion” (source:‐liberia‐idUSSGC00373720100903). In October 2010. Golden Agri reported it disposed of its entire shareholding comprising one share of HK$1 in Golden Veroleum Limited. A clear status update is needed.

d) Sometime in 2009‐2010, Golden Agri’s “in progress” acquisition of 1 million ha in Papua falls through. Now, players like Wilmar are looking to Papua for major cane sugar projects. Will they have a happier outcome in the low-lying and seawater-flood prone region?