Forest in the Kalasou Valley threatened by oil palm.

Forest belonging to the Moi indigenous people in the Kalasou Valley, Sorong Regency, West Papua Province, is currently under threat, targeted by an oil palm plantation company.

The Bupati of Sorong, Stepanus Malak, issued location permit 221/2011 on 23rd December 2011 to oil palm company PT Mega Mustika Plantation (MMP), covering an area of 9835 hectares. This location permit was renewed once more on 1st April 2014 by the Bupati’s decree SK 660.1/127/2014. PT MMP’s intended plantation site is between Saengkeduk, Selekobo, Klamugun, Miskum and Siwis villages, in Klaso and Moraid sub-districts, Sorong Regency.

PT MMP keeps on trying to persuade the community to give it access to their land for a plantation. In 2012, the commuunity in Klasou Sub-district protested against the plans. “We had sent the Sorong Regency Forestry Service a letter opposing oil palm plantation company PT Mega Mustika Plantation’s plans to come and start work on our traditional lands, but the Forestry Service has never responded, and the government has even given an in-principle permit to the company,” said Hormes Ulimpa, a young member of the Moi ethnic group from Siwis village, Klaso sub-district, who was disappointed at the government’s decision.

The government body he was referring to is the Environment and Forestry Ministry, which has continued to process the company’s application and has issued in-principle permits to release land from the forest estate to two oil palm companies: PT Mega Mustika Plantation was issued decree 5/1/PP-LKH/K/2015 for ± 9,168 hectares and PT Cipta Papua Plantation was issued decree 6/1/PP-LKH/K/2015 covering ± 15,310 hectares. Both permits were issued on 23rd April 2015.

The head of the Sorong Forestry Service, Benyamin A Hallatu, invited the community and the company to a meeting to discuss the plantation boundaries in the Forestry Service meeting room on 28th April 2016, which was attended by sub-district and village heads, land owning clans and the two companies, PT Mega Mustika Plantation and PT Cipta Papua Plantation.

Moi Youth representatives and leaders protested about the invitation to this meeting, Konstan Magablo, a young Moi activist said that “we are disappointed in the local government and the Environment and Forestry Ministry, because when the Moi people’s land becomes oil palm plantations it only creates conflict; we have already seen an example of conflict with PT Henrison Inti Persada’s oil palm plantation in Klamono district, which is still ongoing”.

“The forest is our future and must be protected. We will create a working group to organise people in the villages and give them accurate information about plans for oil palm plantations which would use our ancestral land and their potential impacts”, Konstan said, and he is planning protests against the government and companies’ plans.

The Moi young people hope that the presidential policy to establish a moratorium which will put a stop to new permits for oil palm will be implemented, not just on paper.

Sumber: Pusaka

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