House points out lack of actions on illegal palm oil plantations
Member of House Commission IV on Agriculture Darori Wonodipuro speaks during a Working Committee Hearing on Forest Use and Conversion Settlement at Parliamentary Complex, Jakarta, Tuesday (21/6/2022). Photo: Arief/Man
Member of House Commission IV on agriculture Darori Wonodipuro made comments on the lack of government control over illegal palm oil plantations in forest areas in the past seven years. Meanwhile, he added, provisions of Law No. 18 of 2013 on Prevention and Eradication of Forest Destruction have clearly regulated forest destruction.
Wonodipuro pointed out the illegal plantation issue during a Public Hearing of the Working Committee for Forest Use and Conversion Settlement with the Auriga Nusantara Foundation, Indonesian Biodiversity Foundation, WWF Indonesia, and the Forest Rehabilitation Strategy Team of the Gajah Mada University (UGM) Faculty of Forestry, to solicit input on the Use and Conversion Settlement of Forest Areas. The meeting was held at the House of Representatives, Jakarta, Tuesday (21/6/2022).
"There are 878 in 8 provinces, in Central Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, West Kalimantan, South Kalimantan, Southeast Sulawesi, Riau, Jambi, and West Java, covering an area of 8.4 million hectares. The loss from timber alone is almost Rp220 trillion. Why is this happening? one might ask. And it’s because these companies launder their proceeds, changed their names, and then applied for a land conversion," he said.
Furthermore, Wonodipuro highlighted that based on the findings of the Indonesian Audit Board (BPK) in 2020, around 2.9 million hectares of illegal land case had not been followed up. Therefore, he called upon activists, environmentalists, and academics to urge for the prosecution and control over illegal palm oil plantations, which has caused financial losses to the state.
"Now what's interesting is the Job Creation Law. It used to be that every change in strategic forest areas had to be approved by the House Commission IV. So, please don’t put it on us and say that we do nothing, because we no longer have direct supervision to approve it. And this is what the Job Creation Law stipulates," observed the Great Indonesia Movement (Gerindra) Party politician.
In addition, according to him, the mushrooming illegal palm oil plantations also stemmed from regional autonomy, which gives district government full authority on various matters, including forestry. While the authority has now been moved up to the provincial level, it is yet to be considered an effective step since field supervision is still less than optimal.
"Now the authority lies with the provincial govt. They establish Forest Management Units (KPH) but with no manpower to manage it in the field. National parks in and outside Java have been destroyed because no one is there to watch over them. This is the fact, and Commission IV would encourage the government to take action," he insisted.
Previously, WWF representative Nursyamsu presented the findings of the field investigation. The results show that, in 2019, 43 companies were proven to be involved in illegal palm oil production in forest areas. "It is evident from our findings that numerous companies do not produce palm oil only in the permitted area but also outside in forest areas," he said. (ann,bia/sf, agl)