To tackle with forest and land forests, and obviously mounting pressures over Indonesia’s way of managing its natural resources, President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo declared a moratorium on oil palm plantation expansions.
A very bold movement considering that expansions have been preferred for this commodity. Mostly under the argument that Indonesia needs to keep up with Malaysia to snatch that World’s Number 1 Palm Oil Exporter. Also, the country is supposedly to have hundreds of million hectares of forest areas (which is urban legend because we’re basically down to 80 million hectares. Yikes!).
However, The Man has spoken! So, let the devils out! Excuse the pun, I mean the details. So, which ones are making the cut, how much is it, what about the others? And, how will business people consider this? The latter, I assume would be lots of denials.
Back to details! Ministry of Environment and Forestry, as the ‘owner’ of the forests, I mean which has the rights to issue permits on forestry, came with lots of numbers. Yep, they really love their data.
On Monday, Ministry’s Director of Planology San Afri Awang threw an-on-time-for-once press conference (I was taken aback, seriously).
He announced a total of 950,000 hectares were in ‘waiting list’ in his department for forest release permits. Just a bit of explanation, before you open oil palm plantation, you need to obtain forest release permit, then governor and local district head permits, then you need to do inventory, then …. Sorry, I got lost.
ANYWHO! Long story short, Environment and Forestry Ministry got the final say. And, it says 950,000 hectares will be the first batch of the moratorium. Up to date, there’s a potential 3.5 million hectares of areas to be included in the moratorium. Well, that would trigger fires, alright…. No pun intended.
At the press conference, Pak San Afri also stated that 60 companies obtained expansions permits in Papua and West Papua provinces would be reviewed as they were not doing anything aka planting oil palm.
To avoid your areas being included in the oil palm moratorium, Pak San Afri said there are requirements :
- Forest release permits obtained in accordance to the regulations.
- No indication of rights transfer to other parties.
- Existing permits but not productive lands, such as bushes, shrubs, or barren lands.
- Not located inside conservation areas.
- Not on ‘Waiting List’ for forest permit release.
It is suffice to say it would be not a great time to request for expansions to the ministry until 2021. And, I would recommended to immediately working on your plantations before the government included it in the moratorium.
The presidential instruction on the moratorium is expected to be finalized and ready to be signed by August. One last coordination meeting is scheduled in two weeks, between 12 institutions, — Coordinating Ministry for Economics, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Agrarian and Spatial Planning, Ministry of Industry, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Villages, Rural Development of Disadvantaged Regions, and Transmigration, Information and Geospatial Agency, Investment Coordinating Board, governors, and local districts.
Let’s see if the numbers and criteria are still ‘intact’ 🙂