The Yei People reject Wilmar Group’s Sugar Cane Plantation.

The Yei people have stated their opposition to a sugar-cane company owned by the Wilmar Group in front of the company’s field manager as he came to negotiate with the leadership of the Yei tribe and the community of Kampung Torai, Sota District, on Monday, 23rd September 2013.

Father Lambert Bakujai, a Yei Community Leader, related Wilmar’s plans to develop a sugar-cane plantation on the Yei people’s ancestral land, reaching from Torai to the area around Kampung Poo. However, the community have agreed amongst themselves to oppose Wilmar.

“The Yei people have already given a lot of land for government transmigration programs in Bupul and Jagebob. So now our land is greatly reduced, and what remains we plan to use for our own community, not give any more to the companies”, said Father Lambert Bakujai.

“I also have the experience of seeing what has happened to the Marind people when the companies have taken their land. There has been no improvement to their livelihood, indeed they seem to be getting poorer. That’s why today I have decided not to accept any company that wants to move onto our ancestral domain” said Father Lambert Bakujai, greeted by nods of agreement by other villagers. Also attending the meeting was Agustina Basik-Basik, a Papuan member of the Indonesian House of Representatives, who showed her support for the local people’s aspirations.

Wilmar’s representative, Budi, explained the company’s plan, but the people rejected the plans nonetheless and asked Wilmar to leave the Yei people’s ancestral land.

[awasMIFEE note: This article is about Wilmar’s activities near the Papua New Guinea border, and is the first report we have recieved from that area. Further to the west, villagers in Ba’ad, Wayau and Koa villages have opposed Wilmar subsidiary PT Anugerah Rejeki Nusantara for some time, as we have reported previously]


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