The Indonesian Palm Oil Producers Association (GAPKI) is saying that it will form fire protection divisions in each of its member companies as part of its commitment to sustainable palm oil.
“For on-field mitigation, GAPKI is taking the initiative to form fire protection divisions in member plantation companies and also set up 560 fire-prepared villages,” GAPKI said in a press release obtained by Palm Scribe on Friday (8/11).
Fire-prepared villages are villages that have the capacity, the trained manpower and the equipment to quickly deal with fires in their area.
“In the field of prevention, GAPKI members are building community-based initiatives, such as Fire Concerned Communities, Fire Free Fishermen Programs, and various other initiatives,” GAPKI said.
In the dry season, where fires are prone to erupt, GAPKI is taking intensive measures such as distributing masks, providing clean water, the creation of water pockets, building fire buffer zone as well as efforts to fight fires. It stressed that all efforts regarding fire prevention and or fighting always involved local communities.
“Empowering communities will create awareness among them about forest and ground fires and independent community efforts, such as to map fire-prone areas, forming fire taskforces, fire patrols and fire-fighting efforts when fires break out.”
“This is the most important aims of the forest and ground fire mitigation GAPKI, making people key in mitigation forest and ground fires,” GAPKI said in the release.
The organization said it gives forest and ground fires serious attention by fully supporting the government’s efforts to overcome these fires.
It pointed out that in the forest and ground fires in the January-August period, fires in palm oil concession areas only accounted for seven percent of the total while some 80 percent were in areas outside of concessions. GAPKI said that it enforced a strict zero-burning policy for land clearing on its members.
“GAPKI is fully committed to build a sustainable palm oil industry through the Indonesia Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) (system) and make sure that all initiatives are conducted together with the people so that there is full participation of the people,” GAPKI said.