People of Baad Anxious about Sugar-cane Investment

Keluarga-Baad1-600x351The Malind people in Kampung Baad, Animha District, Merauke are extremely anxious about a new investor which wants to use their ancestral lands and forests for a commercial sugar-cane plantation. They worry that they might lose their land and forest which is the source of their livelihood.
Since 2010 various companies have come to the area to negotiate or to survey customary land in and around Baad, including PT Hardaya Sugar Papua plantation, PT Anugerah Rejeki Nusantara, and now PT Global Papua Abadi. In late June 2014, community members reported via text message that this new company had been informing people of its plans to develop a sugar cane plantation on around 25,000 hectares of land belonging to Baad, Wapeko, Salor and Senayu villages.

Community leaders who attended the company’s presentation which took place in a soldier’s house in Kurik District did not give much response. The company promised to pay them 8 billion Rupiah as ‘tali asih’ money ((an ambiguous term which companies often use, they mean compensation for ancestral land surrendered to the company)) to use the land for sugar-cane during ± 35years. The company also promised them a 20% profit share scheme.

PT Global Papua Abadi also told the people that it would make sure the local government was involved when it handed over the ‘tali asih’ money. The company did not give the community copies of their permits and they also didn’t inform them of the precise location of their sugar-cane enterprise. The community fear that important places will be lost, such as their farmland, sago groves, hunting grounds, sacred places, tracks of their ancestors and so on, as the company clears the land to pursue its business interests.

Mathias Mahuze, a Baad community member, fears that if the investment goes ahead it will have a negative impact on their economic activities and for future generations of the Marind people.

Source: Pusaka:

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