MERAUKE - Follow up the first Stakeholder Meeting on July 24th in Jakarta, Merauke Regency Government held second Stakeholder Meeting on the development of oil palm plantations and industry in Merauke on Tuesday (15/8). This event series were meetings between stakeholders on practices in oil palm industry, particularly in the districts of Merauke and Boven Digoel, Papua.
The meeting was attended by Merauke Regent, Frederikus Gebze, customary land owners in Merauke and representatives from Boven Digoel, members of The Regional Council of The Republic of Indonesia (DPD-RI) from Papua, Mesakh Mirin. Merauke Regional Representative Council (DPRD), clerics, representatives of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) for Papua, Frits Ramandey, related agencies and several representatives from the oil palm companies. The moderator of the forum was Dr. Agus Sumule, the Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture from University of Papua.
The second meeting between stakeholders this time resulted in five points. First, importance of investments for the regional development and poverty eradication, including investments for the development of oil palm plantations and industry in accordance to the legislative rules, which is environmentally friendly and beneficial, especially for indigenous people whose territory is used for development of oil palm plantations and industry.
The second agreement is plasma plantations, based on the companies commitment to the indigenous people, need to be realized, in accordance with the legislative rules and regulations, which is 20 percent of the whole land that has been approved by the government.
Third, the indigenous people and the general public need to gain access as wide as possible to the government's policy on the development of oil palm plantations and industry, including the companies policy and legal agreement between the companies and indigenous people.
The fourth result is to encourage NGOs, the community, the government and companies to continue building an equal, constructive and open dialogue, in order to review and solve issues for the development of the indigenous people as well as the ones affected by the development of oil palm plantations and industry.
And the last point is to encourage the government, oil palm companies, NGOs and competent institutions to develop alternative ways that allow the indigenous people to receive social, economic, and cultural benefits which are bigger and more long-term.
In his speech, Merauke Regent, Frederikus Gebze explained that bringing investors is one of the steps forward to fulfill a development, and in line with how the Indonesian government is opening investment opportunities.
“It is the first time occurred in Papua Province, Merauke is the only region that provides a total land of 20 percent for plasma plantations in 2016. We have already signed and there are about 7-8 companies that already own cooperatives to develop indigenous people,” he said.
For that matter, the regent urged companies to immediately open smallholder plantations and to empower the entire community in accordance to the provision of 20 percent for the management of their customary rights.
Toward the foreign NGO, Mighty Earth, which is considered interfering far beyond its territory, the regent regretted their absence in the meeting he held, both at the first meeting in Jakarta and the second time it was held in Merauke, despite having been invited. He claimed to have been infuriated by the negative campaign intensively conducted by foreign NGOs such as Mighty Earth from the US. This proves that the NGO does not listen to the voice of the local government and community.
He was also irate over the accusations from the NGO, Mighty that the stakeholder forum has been manipulated. The regent asserted, this stakeholder forum was initiated on the initiative of the regional government in regard to the local government budget (APBD) that could not constantly being relied on to support 500 thousand people in Merauke.
As he explained, the regional budget is divided for the allocation of infrastructure, education, health and so on. One of the ways to fulfill a development is to bring in investors.