Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Greenpeace, Sawit Watch Urge Government to Halt Plantation

Greenpeace, Sawit Watch Urge Government to Halt Plantation

Tuesday, 06 April, 2010

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta: A coalition of environmental and rights groups have launched another call for the government to end the expansion of plantation areas in natural forests, and demand serious measures from the government to meet its 26 percent carbon cut.

At a press conference in Jakarta the group which includes Greenpeace, Indonesia Friends of the Earth, Sawit Watch, and Forest Watch Indonesia urged President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono to order the Forestry Minister to revoke several policies on forest and peat land conversion for large industrial purposes.

The group said expansion of palm oil plantations has come to a critical point. We have 9 million hectares of palm plantationwith expansion of Rp200,000 hectares per year,” Jefri Gideon Saragih of the Sawit Watch told reporters. Of the expansion figure about 100,000 hectares are peatland which conversion process according to Sawit Watch responsible for the “largest carbon emission in Indonesia”.

The group suggested the government to raise production level by intensifying productivity of the current planttaaion areas. It said malysia who has only about 4.9 hectares was able to produce up to 18 million tonnes of palm oil while Indonesia only produced about 21.3 million a year.

Bustar Maitar, Greenpeace's Southeast Asia forest campaigner said the halt “is important to prove the commitment and determination of the government in achieving the 26 percent emission cut target by 2020.”

The group has also previously said The international will and funding to protect Indonesia’s forests is there. It is therefore contradictory for Indonesia to promote further plantations at the expense of forests

The Forestry Minister, Zulkifli Hasan of Yudhoyono's Democratic party responded to the call by saying "Tell the NGOs to see me.”