(PT Agrinusa Persada Mulia, PT Agriprima Cipta Persada)
last updated 25/07/13
Company Description: Agro Mandiri Semesta plantations is an oil palm company owned by Ganda Sitorus, the younger brother of Wilmar co-founder Martua Sitorus.
Plans in Merauke: Two subsidiaries, PT Agrinusa Persada Mulia (40,000 ha) and PT Agriprima Cipta Persada (33,540ha) have obtained location permits for oil palm plantation in Muting and Ulilin districts. PT Agriprima Cipta Persada was previously reported on this website as belonging to Wilmar, based on media reports from Sumatra. However, it now seems clear that the company is currently owned by the Ganda Group.
Stores from the Ground: Both subsidiary companies have been trying to acquire land from customary landowners at low rates, with some success. The Jakarta Post reported that on June 1st 2012 PT Agriprima Cipta Persada paid Rp 2 billion ($207,000) to nine clans in Marimbian village. When divided between all the families this came to Rp 20,000 – Rp 50,000 each and they apparantly bitterly regretted the decison.1 Meanwhile in March 2013 local government sources reported that they had overseen a land purchase, together with the military, in Kampung Bupul, with villagers compensated at Rp 300,000 ($30) per hectare.2
Nevertheless, frequent visitors to the area report that some clans are still resisting selling their land in PT Agriprima Cipta Persada’s concession area.
Villagers have also accused PT Agriprima Cipta Persada of not keeping its promise to build educational facilities.3
The two companies have suffered a setback because, as of July 2013, the Indonesian Forestry rejected their applications to release forest land for development. They will have to reapply if they wish to obtain a plantation permit. Some forest land has already been cleared for a oil palm tree nursery.4
Other Conflicts around West Papua and Indonesia: The story of PT Asiatic Persada (PT AP) in Jambi province, Sumatra, gives an indication of the relationship between PT AMS Plantations and the Wilmar Group. Wilmar bought PT AP in 2006, inheriting a land conflict with the Batin Sembilan indigenous group. The conflict came to a head in July 2006 when a village was evicted by police mobile brigade shooting and PT AP’s bulldozers destroying houses. A coalition of NGOs followed up the case, making complaints to the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC), which funds Wilmar, and the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), of which Wilmar is a member.5 However, while the IFC mediation process was still ongoing, Wilmar washed its hands of the affair by selling PT AP to PT AMS and another company, Prima Fortune International Ltd.6 PT AMS is a ‘wilder’ company than Wilmar, which does not need to comply with the restrictions of the IFC or RSPO. It still sells its palm oil to Wilmar.