Jayapura, Jubi – Another impact of oil palm plantations has caused the river became shallow and polluted; trees and plants hardly grow anymore.
“Papuan people eat sago, tubers, or bananas, we do not eat palm oil,” said Mgr John Philip Saklil Pr as quoted by Antara news agency.
Bishop Saklil believes there are many examples of failure of oil palm plantations such as in Kalimantan and Keerom, Papua Province. It only caused local residents lost their land for sago and tubers to grow.
“The closest example is in Keerom. Is it now the Keerom locals have become rich with oil palms? So please do not force the Papuan people to turn their livelihood to plant things that are not customary,” Bishop Saklil said.
Researchers from University of Riau T. Ariful Amri explained the negative impacts of oil palm plantation activities especially on water. Oil palm is nutrients greed monoculture and absorbs at least 12 liters water into its tree trunk a day.
The growth of oil palm is also depend and should be stimulated by various kinds of fertilizer substances like pesticides and other chemicals.
New migrant pests also appear very fierce because this new pest species will seek new habitat due to harsh competition with other fauna. This is due to the limited land and types of plants caused by monoculture cultivation.
Henderite Ohee, researcher and lecturer of FMIPA UNCEN in his article entitled Human Threats to Biodiversity in Papua said destruction of habitat becomes a real threat to sustainability of ecology and biodiversity in Papua. This is also caused by human activities.
According to Law No. 32 of 2009 Article 1, paragraph 17 on the management and protection of environment the damage is a direct and/or indirect change to the physical, chemical and/or biological nature of environment that exceeds the standard criteria of environmental damage.
Damage to ecosystems in Indonesia has occurred in various places and various types of ecosystems. Damage in agricultural or plantation ecosystems is one of them. Wildlife extinction has been direct impact on the management of oil palm plantations on forest land.
Palm oil ‘invasion’ to Papua and Merbau timber
Palm oil plantation companies entered Papua in 1980s, especially large state-owned plantations (BUMN-PTP2) which later changed their name into PTPPN II. This state-owned company began to reach Sorong, Manokwari and Jayapura, along with the transmigration program.
“From 1990s until now, private plantations began to flood the land of Papua like mushrooms grow in the rainy season. Because the potential lands for plantations in Sumatra and Kalimantan have been discharged by conglomerates nationwide and world class,” said Simon Rumaropen former employee of PTPN Palm Oil in Arso in a written statement received by Jubi.
Furthermore, Rumaropen said potential oil palm investors are targeting the land of Papua as a potential field to invest.
“They race to enter Papua since no land left in Sumatra and Kalimantan. They come to Papua with various background interests,” he said, quoting the word of God in Matthew’s gospel is the thief will come to steal, kill and destroy.
Rumaropen suspects that the reason behind many new companies eager to invest in oil palm sector in Papua is Merbau wood.
“If the company has obtained a location permit and a plantation business permit but has not been operating for more than three years, and the company has no plantations in other areas, it can be assumed that the company has become wood mafia, “he said in a written statement.
Responding to the statement of the Coalition for Palm Oil Victims in Papua related to oil palm industries profit potential, Rumaropen asserted that they are actually very profitable, both for large companies and local communities/farmers.
Rumaropen warned that the granting of permits to companies that come to Papua, with work program and pledge of promises, might be “work and land mafia”.
“The palm oil investors come to Papua with various aims, some will actually open large plantations and some are just passing through,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ais Rumbekwan, environmental activists and environmentalists from the Friends of the Earth Indonesia (Walhi) – Papua and West Papua said that on the ground the case of land grabbing for oil palm plantations without reasonable compensation to indigenous people become very common case.
Palm oil was imported to Indonesia by the Dutch East Indies government in 1848. Some of the seeds were planted in Bogor Botanical Gardens, while the remaining seeds were planted on the side of the road as ornamental plants in Deli, North Sumatra in the 1870s.(tabloidjubi.com)