Kyauktaw: A government castor oil project, known as the General Than Shwe project to locals, has failed in Arakan State after many trees dies from neglect, said a farmer from Kyauktaw.
He said, "You can see many signboards in the castor oil gardens along the Sittwe - Rangoon highway, but there is nothing successful in any of the gardens. Now the only thing remaining is the signboards in the gardens, but nothing else."
Along the Sittwe - Rangoon highway, the army authority planted many castor oil plantations after confiscating acres of land from local Arakanese farmers, but all of the castor oil plantations have fallen to ruin due to many obstacles.
"We were forced by the Burmese army to cultivate the castor oil trees near our villages. So we planted the trees at many vacant places near our village. The authority was engrossed in the plantations at the beginning of the project, but one year later the authority is neglecting the project. So now all of the projects have failed in our state," the farmer said.
Local army authorities have been unable to look after the gardens full time, and have been unable to force people to do all the work on the gardens. Many castor oil gardens are ruined due to lack of workers for the plantations, a source said.
According to a source, the army authority has collected some husks from the castor oil gardens in Sittwe Township, but there is no mill to process them and produce oil. The army authority has used some small, local, private oil mills to produce the castor oil, but this work is not done regularly by the private mills.
The state-run newspapers have published many stories about the castor oil projects in Burma but there has been no news about the castor oil projects in Burma recently because the projects remain unsuccessful throughout Burma after five years.
The Burmese military junta propagated to the Burmese people that it would produce bio-fuel in Burma in the future from castor oil plantations to develop the country. Because of this directive to produce castor oil, local authorities implemented the castor oil projects throughout Burma.
5 months ago