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They stole Merbau timber before oil palm plantations investment (part 2)

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Confiscated Merbau timber auctioned by Papua Province Forestry Office – Dok. Jubi

Jayapura, Jubi – Another impact of oil palm plantations has caused the river became shallow and polluted; trees and plants hardly grow anymore.

“Papuan people eat sago, tubers, or bananas, we do not eat palm oil,” said Mgr John Philip Saklil Pr as quoted by Antara news agency.

Bishop Saklil believes there are many examples of failure of oil palm plantations such as in Kalimantan and Keerom, Papua Province. It only caused local residents lost their land for sago and tubers to grow.

“The closest example is in Keerom. Is it now the Keerom locals have become rich with oil palms? So please do not force the Papuan people to turn their livelihood to plant things that are not customary,” Bishop Saklil said.

Researchers from University of Riau T. Ariful Amri explained the negative impacts of oil palm plantation activities especially on water. Oil palm is nutrients greed monoculture and absorbs at least 12 liters water into its tree trunk a day.

Read They stole Merbau timber before oil palm plantations investment (part 1)

The growth of oil palm is also depend and should be stimulated by various kinds of fertilizer substances like pesticides and other chemicals.

New migrant pests also appear very fierce because this new pest species will seek new habitat due to harsh competition with other fauna. This is due to the limited land and types of plants caused by monoculture cultivation.

Henderite Ohee, researcher and lecturer of FMIPA UNCEN in his article entitled Human Threats to Biodiversity in Papua said destruction of habitat becomes a real threat to sustainability of ecology and biodiversity in Papua. This is also caused by human activities.

According to Law No. 32 of 2009 Article 1, paragraph 17 on the management and protection of environment the damage is a direct and/or indirect change to the physical, chemical and/or biological nature of environment that exceeds the standard criteria of environmental damage.

Damage to ecosystems in Indonesia has occurred in various places and various types of ecosystems. Damage in agricultural or plantation ecosystems is one of them. Wildlife extinction has been direct impact on the management of oil palm plantations on forest land.

Palm oil ‘invasion’ to Papua and Merbau timber

Palm oil plantation companies entered Papua in 1980s, especially large state-owned plantations (BUMN-PTP2) which later changed their name into PTPPN II. This state-owned company began to reach Sorong, Manokwari and Jayapura, along with the transmigration program.

“From 1990s until now, private plantations began to flood the land of Papua like mushrooms grow in the rainy season. Because the potential lands for plantations in Sumatra and Kalimantan have been discharged by conglomerates nationwide and world class,” said Simon Rumaropen former employee of PTPN Palm Oil in Arso in a written statement received by Jubi.

Furthermore, Rumaropen said potential oil palm investors are targeting the land of Papua as a potential field to invest.

“They race to enter Papua since no land left in Sumatra and Kalimantan. They come to Papua with various background interests,” he said, quoting the word of God in Matthew’s gospel is the thief will come to steal, kill and destroy.

Rumaropen suspects that the reason behind many new companies eager to invest in oil palm sector in Papua is Merbau wood.

“If the company has obtained a location permit and a plantation business permit but has not been operating for more than three years, and the company has no plantations in other areas, it can be assumed that the company has become wood mafia, “he said in a written statement.

Responding to the statement of the Coalition for Palm Oil Victims in Papua related to oil palm industries profit potential, Rumaropen asserted that they are actually very profitable, both for large companies and local communities/farmers.

Rumaropen warned that the granting of permits to companies that come to Papua, with work program and pledge of promises, might be “work and land mafia”.

“The palm oil investors come to Papua with various aims, some will actually open large plantations and some are just passing through,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ais Rumbekwan, environmental activists and environmentalists from the Friends of the Earth Indonesia (Walhi) – Papua and West Papua said that on the ground the case of land grabbing for oil palm plantations without reasonable compensation to indigenous people become very common case.

Palm oil was imported to Indonesia by the Dutch East Indies government in 1848. Some of the seeds were planted in Bogor Botanical Gardens, while the remaining seeds were planted on the side of the road as ornamental plants in Deli, North Sumatra in the 1870s.(tabloidjubi.com)

Analysis

Activists fear Indian proposal for coal reserves in Indonesian-ruled Papua

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Forest clearance and plantation development in PT Megakarya Jaya Raya (PT MJR) palm oil concession in Papua. The region is home to the world’s third-largest rainforest, but is facing intense pressure due to the logging, palm oil and mining industries. Image: Ulet Infansasti/Greenpeace

By Febriana Firdaus in Jakarta

As it seeks to diversify its sources of fuel, India is looking to get in on the ground floor of coal mining in previously unexploited deposits in Indonesian-ruled Papua.

In exchange for technical support and financing for geological surveys, officials say India is pushing for special privileges, including no-bid contracts on any resulting concessions a prospect that could run foul of Indonesia’s anti-corruption laws.

The details of an Indian mining project in Papua are still being negotiated, but Indonesia’s energy ministry welcomes the prospect as part of a greater drive to explore energy resources in the country’s easternmost provinces.

In future, the ministry hopes mining for coking coal will support the domestic steel industry, while also bringing economic benefits to locals.

Rights activists, however, fear the launch of a new mining industry could deepen tensions in a region where existing extractive projects have damaged the environment and inflamed a long-running armed conflict.

Indonesia’s new coal frontier

When Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Jakarta last month, joint efforts to extract and process Indonesia’s fossil fuels, including coal, were on the agenda.

India’s interest in investing in a new coking coal mining concession in Papua can be traced to 2017, when officials from the Central Mine Planning and Design Institute (CMPDI) and Central Institute of Mining and Fuel Research (CIMFR), both Indian government institutes, met with Indonesia’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources in Jakarta.

The bilateral plan was announced by then-ministry spokesman Sujatmiko after the first India Indonesia Energy Forum held in Jakarta in April 2017. “The focus is on new territories in Papua,” he said.

To follow up, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources sent a team to India in early May. The current energy ministry spokesman, Agung Pribadi, who was part of the delegation, told Mongabay that officials from state-owned energy giant Pertamina, major coal miner PT Adaro Energy, and state-owned electricity firm PLN also joined the meeting.

The Indonesian team presented research outlining the potential for mining high-caloric content coal in West Papua province, and lower-caloric coal in Papua province.

According to the team’s report, only 9.3 million tons of reserves have so far been identified. By contrast, Indonesia as a whole expects to export 371 million tons of coal this year. However, the true extent of coal deposits could be larger, said Rita Susilawati, who prepared the report presented during the meeting and is head of coal at the ministry’s Mineral, Coal and Geothermal Resources Centre. “Some areas in Papua are hard to reach due to the lack of infrastructure. We were unable to continue the research,” she explained.

During the visit, Indian and Indonesian officials discussed conducting a geological survey in Papua, Agung said. India would finance the survey using its national budget. With Indonesian President Joko Widodo prioritising infrastructure investment, the energy ministry has few resources to conduct such surveys.

Expected privileges

Indonesia also anticipates benefiting and learning from India’s experience in processing coking coal.

In exchange, India expected privileges from the Indonesian government, including the right to secure the project without a bidding process, Agung said.

Indonesia denied the request, and the talks were put on hold. Approving it would have been too risky, Agung said, since the bidding process is regulated in Indonesia. “We recommend they follow the bidding process or cooperate with a state-owned enterprise,” Agung said.

India’s ministry of coal did not respond to an emailed request for comment.

Energy and mining law expert Bisman Bakhtiar said there was still a chance India could get the rights to develop any resulting coal concessions without having to go through an open bidding process. “It can proceed under the G-to-G (government-to-government) scheme by signing a bilateral agreement,” he said.

This form of agreement would supersede the ministerial regulations requiring competitive bidding, Bisman explained, although he said any such agreements should emphasise that any projects must be carried out according to local laws.

There is precedent in Indonesia for G-to-G schemes bypassing the open bidding process, Bisman said. For example, multiple projects have been carried out on the basis of cooperation agreements with the World Bank and Australia. In another instance, Indonesian media mogul Surya Paloh imported crude oil from Angola via a bilateral cooperation agreement with Angola’s state-owned oil company Sonangol.

Draft law

A draft law currently being discussed in the House of Representatives could also smooth the path for India. It says that if there is agreement between Indonesia and a foreign government to conduct geological studies, the country involved will get priority for the contract.

However, this would still require the country to meet market prices. “We called it ‘right to match.’ If there are other parties who offer lower prices, then they should follow that price,” Bisman said.

Another option would be for India to appoint one of its local companies to work with Indonesian private sector giant Adaro or state-owned coal miner PT Bukit Asam. Such a deal could be conducted as a business-to-business (B-to-B) agreement, and would be legal according to Indonesia’s Energy Law.

Or, Indonesia could assign a state-owned firm like Bukit Asam to work with India based on a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by both countries.

“But all these options have a potential risk,” Agung said. “They can be categorised as collusion by the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK).” He said a conventional bidding process should be prioritised.

Bisman said India needed to consider other risks, such as the social and political situation in Papua. The region is home to an armed pro-independence movement and has faced decades of conflict around the world’s largest and most profitable gold and copper mine, Grasberg, owned by US-based Freeport McMoRan.

‘Land grab’

Despite the presence of the mine, Papua remains Indonesia’s poorest province, with some of the worst literacy and infant mortality rates in Asia. Indonesia’s National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), a state-funded body, has characterised Freeport’s concession as a “land grab,” for which the original stewards of the land, the Amungme and Kamoro indigenous people, were never properly consulted or compensated.

The Indonesian energy ministry’s own research says that any project must take into account the impact on Papua’s indigenous peoples, and must factor in specific local concepts of land ownership, leadership and livelihood.

Franky Samperante, executive director of rights advocacy group Yayasan Pusaka, said he was worried about the plan. “It is way too risky,” he said, pointing to the social and environmental fallout of the Grasberg mine.

“There should be communication between the mining company and indigenous Papuans,” he said, warning Jakarta to carefully calculate the social, environmental and national security impacts.

Local indigenous people need to be meaningfully involved in the decision-making process, he said, especially since the mining would occur in and near forests where indigenous people live and gather and hunt their food. (*)

 

Source: asiapacificreport.nz

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Environment

Fish aggregating devices damages Papua’s marine ecosystem

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Illustration of a beach in Papua. – Jubi/Hengky Yeimo

Jayapura, Jubi – John Gobay, a member of Papua House of Representatives from Meepago customary area, said fish aggregating devices (FADs) are possibly damaging the marine ecosystem in Papua.

These FADs neglect the local wisdom of indigenous Papua,” Gobai told Jubi on Monday (4/6/2018). Therefore, he proposes regulation and agreement on the prohibition of FADs in the Papua’s coastal areas.

“Moreover, the tools used by non-Papuan fishermen who give a monthly payment to someone rather than paying a contribution to indigenous tribes as well as to the customary landowner,” he explained.

It often raises a conflict between the local and migrant fishermen, like what happened in Pomako, Mimika, on 1 August 2017. “Consequently, indigenous fishermen often exclude from the fishing spaces that are already occupied by non-Papuan fishermen,” he said.

A Papua fisherman Musye Weror appreciates Gobai’s idea to seek an establishment of the regulation for native fishermen. “We’ve been having a lot of drawbacks over the years because we still use the traditional fishing tools,” said Weror. (*)

Reporter: Hengky Yeimo

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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Economy

Papua House of Representatives will promote Ambaidiru coffee

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Secretary of the Papua House of Representatives, Juliana J Waromi (standing) with several members of the House of Representatives during a meeting with the community, coffee farmers, and officials of Ambaidiru – Jubi / Doc

Jayapura, Jubi – The Secretary of the Papua House of Representatives Juliana J Waromi said the house is ready to help the community of Ambaidiru Village, Kosiwo Sub-district, Yapen Islands District to promote their coffee.

She said she and several legislators visited the 60 hectares Ambaidiru coffee plantation area a few days ago in response to the aspiration of the local community. “I want to see it directly. If it’s good, I will help them to find a market. Based on my experience working with the Investment Coordination Board Papua for three years, I could promote the coffee to abroad,” said Waromi on (5/6/2018).

A coffee farmer Yulianus Maniamboy recently told Jubi that the coffee plantation in Ambaidiru firstly introduced in the Dutch era. The Dutch tried to plant it and worked. Ambaidiru coffee is now over 50 years old.

“Instead of in groups, we manage our commodity individually. Farmers dry their coffee by their own. There is no control, not centralised and consequently, the quality of coffee is still very varied. However, in the past years, we could produce a ton of coffee per month. That’s because there was no disruption and the management of the cooperative was good,” he said. (*)

 

Reporter: Arjuna Pademme

Editor: Pipit Maizier

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