The Palm Scribe

Indonesia wants to review idle palm oil concessions in forests

JAKARTA – The government is currently working on a draft presidential instruction (Inpres) that would not only cover a three-year moratorium on new palm oil plantation permits but also allows it to take back idle palm oil concessions located in forest area.

ILLUSTRATION. Land clearing in Papua. ILLUSTRATION. Land clearing in Papua.

“We will look at the permits, which for examples are not yet effectively used to open palm oil plantation. If it turns out they are in good primary forest, that part should be taken out from the concession,” Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya was  on Tuesday (30/1/2018) quoted by as having said.

The minister, speaking after attending a workshop on forests and deforestation here on Monday, said that a draft presidential regulations on the Evaluation and Postponing of Palm Oil Permits was already signed by the coordinating minister for the economy and was currently in the hands of the cabinet secretary.

Nurbaya said that the presidential instruction will gave her ministry the authority to evaluate whether idle parts of palm oil plantation concession laying in forested areas could have its permit taken back or swapped with another plot of land.

She added that the evaluation will also be conducted on plantations laying within a forest area. The history of the issuance of the permit will be reviewed by her ministry, she said.

“The context is an environmental need. That is it, according to me, just the environmental and conservation requirements,” Nurbaya said.

The presidential instruction will also contain a moratorium on the issuance of new palm oil plantation, valid for a period of three years.

“I actually said two years was enough, We are only reviewing. But three years is OK, so that we have more time,” the minister said.

The moratorium was promised by President Joko Widodo during a ceremony to mark International Forest Day, held at Karya island in the Seribu islands in the Bay of Jakarta on April 14, 2016.

With new plantations permits put on hold, the government hopes that palm oil players would focus on rising productivity of plantation instead.

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