Tag Archives: Daewoo International

Merauke Burns – but were the plantations to blame?

By AwasMIFEE

First Published: November 20, 2015

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The rains have finally arrived, putting out the forest fires that raged across Indonesia through the last few months. Forest burning takes place every dry season, but this year an especially strong El Nino phenomenon meant that the dry season was longer and dryer, and the fires were especially bad.

The worst crises were, as in other years, on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo, where human pressure on the forest is high, and deep peat soils mean that fires can burn for months. However this dry season there were also significantly more fires than usual in southern Papua, in Merauke and Mappi regencies. Timika, nearly 600 kilometres away, suffered from smoke haze as a result.

Merauke has become in recent years the main focus for the growth of industrial agriculture in Papua, due to various incarnations of  a central government project, the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate, and associated oil palm plantations. But is there a link between these development plans and the fires? awasMIFEE presents two articles to address this question. The first is an analysis of satellite photographs in two of Korindo’s plantations where clear evidence of fire on is found on newly-deforested land, by Sam Lawson of Earthsight. This article aims to complement that research by looking at the link between fire and deforestation in other plantations over the last four years, and the wider situation in Merauke.

Many fires outside plantation areas.

Fire hotspot data shows that the fires were found throughout the southern part of Merauke, where the vegetation is made up of mixed forest and grassland. Some of these fires were within plantation concession boundaries (unsurprisingly, since undeveloped plantation concessions cover well over a million hectares, more than a quarter of Merauke’s land area). There were a few concentrations of hotspots in areas where plantation companies are known to be active (Medco’s timber plantation in Zanegi village and woodchip factory in Boepe, Rajawali’s sugar cane plantation near Domande, PT Agriprima Cipta Persada and PT Agrinusa Persada Mulia’s oil palm plantations in Muting). However, as there were also many, many other fires away from these areas, there is insufficient evidence to conclude in these cases that fires were started by the companies.

Another important point is that some of the highest concentrations of fires were in areas where there are no plantations planned – such as Dolok Island, and the western part of Mappi Regency. It’s also worth pointing out that there were also a lot of fires across the border in Papua New Guinea, especially along the Fly River which flows close to the border.

The conclusion is: while it is certainly possible that some of the fires were connected with agricultural development, the high number of hotspots outside areas earmarked for plantations means it is likely that many of them were started for other reasons.

The big exception: Korindo.

In the more densely forested north-eastern part of Merauke, there were less fires. However when you look at where those fires were, you see a very strong pattern – many of them were clustered within oil palm concessions. What’s more, the hotspots (marked in orange) show a very strong correlation with data on areas deforested in 2015.1

Merauke Plantation Fires 2015

Three of those concessions are owned by the Korindo Group. PT Tunas Sawa Erma (which has been operating since 1998 but has not developed the whole concession) PT Dongin Prabhawa (which started land clearance in 2011) and PT Papua Agro Lestari (which appears to have just started clearing land in the last few months). Another is PT Bio Inti Agrindo (operating since 2012), which is owned by Daewoo International Corporation, but known to have a close relationship to Korindo.

Here’s a closer look at two of them: PT Dongin Prabhawa and PT Bio Inti Agrindo:

PT dp dan PT BIA 2015

This is quite strong evidence to indicate that these companies may have been using fire to clear land, a practice which is illegal in Indonesia. This evidence is further reinforced if we look at fire data for previous years.  It appears that there have been fires in the concessions each year, and the fire locations closely follow each successive year’s cutting plans. The implication is that Korindo and Daewoo International companies appear to have been regularly using fire to clear land since 2012.

The following maps use a different source of deforestation data – tree cover loss data from the University of Maryland – which gives an indication of which bits of forest were cut each year, and this is overlaid with the hotspots detected by NASA MODIS satellites the same year. Both sets of data are available to browse on the www.globalforestwatch.org website, but due to the way that site is structured you can’t see them simultaneously like this.

Here’s some views of PT Dongin Prabhawa’s concession in 2012,2013 and 2014. The purple areas were the areas deforested that year. The orange dots are the hotspots recorded in the same year. You can see that in 2012, there were several fires in the area cleared, in 2013 fires burned in areas cleared that year and the year before, and then in 2014 fires broke out in more newly cleared blocks.

PT Dongin Prabhawa 2012-2014A similar pattern can be seen in PT Bio Inti Agrindo’s concession. Forest clearance started in the north-western corner of the concession, and moved eastward, including in 2014 clearing the corridor that eventually connects the larger eastern block of the concession. There were concentrations of hotspots in 2012 and 2013 in the western block, at the same time that deforestation was taking place there.bca bia 2012-4

Just to the north of PT Bio Inti Agrindo is PT Berkat Cipta Abadi, another Korindo subsidiary which started clearing in 2012. Here too, the fires closely mirrored the deforestation pattern, with a particularly high concentration in 2014.


  1. Deforestation data is from Sam Lawson’s analysis of Landsat satellites, tracing the difference between images dated late January 2015 to late October 2015.  ↩

PT Selaras Inti Semesta’s Unkept Promises to Senegi Villagers

Tabloid Jubi

by Ans K @ Tabloid Jubi

January 4, 2013

The leader of the Merauke District Legislative Council (DPRD), Leonardus Mahuze, says that PT Selaras Inti Semesta, a company logging forest owned by the people of Senegi village in Okaba district, has not fulfilled the promises it made when it started its operations there.

Chairman DPRD Merauke, Leonardus Mahuze (Jubi/Ans)

That was how Leo described the situation to tabloidjubi.com, on Thursday (3/1).  He said that the company’s promise to provide education for Senegi village’s children, including providing college places, has still not happened.  Similarly the company has not provided new houses, electricity supplies or clean water either. As a result, the local people who are the customary landowners in the area, feel they have been exploited.

Until now, Leo related, the only thing which PT Selaras Inti Semesta has completed building has been a church. In the meantime they are logging the forest every day. “Yes, of course the local people are the victims in this situation. The council has received many complaints”, he said.

Leo added that in the near future he will summon PT Selaras Inti Semesta and local people to a meeting at the District Legislative Council, and draw up a memorandum of understanding between the two parties, witnessed by representatives of the people. This is in order to uphold the people’s rights.

(English translation: https://awasmifee.potager.org/?p=308)

The Impact of MIFEE presence at Bian River and Maro River, West Papua

http://tabloidjubi.com/?p=7575

Press Release from Indigenous Peoples Organization of Bian Enim

Extent of MIFEE estate (via Tabloid Jubi)

Jayapura, (21/12)—“The Lord Allah has given new land to create human-being, they  (human-beings) are given legs and hands to cultivate the land. We do not refuse any development and companies on our land, but we  want to get fully involved in it (development)”

The presence of company and investment development on our customary land has caused several impacts, which we face direct and indirectly. One of the impact that clearly occurs is water contamination which is followed with phenomenon of dead fishes,  turtles and other water animals, which people believes that these are affected by company’s waste where is located on the edge of Bian River. Moreover, the water from river and swamp that we have been using and consuming for our daily needs, e.g drinking, cooking, bathing, and others, can no longer be used by us anymore. The kids who baths in the river and swamp has got health problems on the skin, digest problems, coughs and other health problems. In compensation, we have to walk miles and miles to get fresh and clean water.

The company’s activities, which we see by ourselves, has demolished our customary land that we have been protecting, nurturing, and taking care of. The deforestation of our customary forest has also deprived any of traditional medicines that we have been using for all this time. It is harder for us to look for Sago, hunted animals, traditional clothes materials, and customary equipment which are only available in the forest. For us, customary forest that is destroyed equals to damaged and the loss of our culture.

The company came to the village without any detail, clear, and proved information given. The company does not involve indigenous peoples and land owners since the first time of investment plan on our land. As well as things related to policy and permits was not informed openly, clearly, and detail to us, including the potential impact of the land permits that might occurs on our land.

In the process of socialization, consultation, verification of clan owners, and negotiation which was conducted by companies, they never get the clan owners fully involved. The companies only engaged the head of clan, the community leaders, including local government to get involved on the land that is grabbed and destroyed. The involvement mentioned is related to involvement in EIA Preparation Process, consultation, and EIA assessment. The indigenous community’s organization which represents the indigenous peoples was not even involved in this process. Meanhile, on the side of community, the land owners whose land is not grabbed and destroyed were not engaged to get involved. This matter resulted to today’s situation where our demands and aspirations are not expressed well.

We feel that government who shall has duty and obligation to protect, respect, and bring forward our rights as indigenous community, has clearly become the company’s men as they are on the company’s side, and not on the side of the indigenous community and the land owners.

When the companies came to our land, they and the government mentioned that the land was only borrowed or contracted for 35 years and afterward the land will be returned to the customary land owners, and we believe that we will get our land back. Nowadays, we got information that one of the palm oil companies, PT Bio Inti Agroindo (BIA) who conducting operation on ou land and customary area has got their Land Use Rights / HGU. We realize that the end of land use rights would refer to the land be returned to the state, after 35 years been used by the companies. For us, this situation means that the companies has failed to protect our indigenous rights as the real land owners. This also means that the company has intentionally committed fraud, negligence and removal of our indigenous rights without our approval on the concession. For that matter, we urge that if the company wish to continue using our customary land, thus the company is obliged to seek for our approval as land owners and we also have make sure that the land will be returned to us, the clan owners, after the usage.

Demands and Aspiration
Based on the circumstances and the facts above, we are very aware that many losses that we have experienced will be sustained and the impact on the loss of life, dignity and our rights as indigenous peoples as well as our constitutional rights. Therefore we demand and urged the government to take actions to:
1. Revoke and cancel location permits off of our customary land
2. The Land use rights must be removed from the land and customary land and  clan’s land, and also to ensure the lands will be returned to our customary land owners
3. The Company shall be responsible to, and conduct recovery as well as to give compensation to the communities who lived along the coast of Bian River up to Kaptel
4. The government should take action and control of disruption and environmental pollution caused by gold mining company’s activities in the border between Indonesia and PNG, which has threatened communities in Maro River – Bian River
5. The government shall conduct an investigation, field observations and research on the situation in the Coastal Mandob-Bian-Mill and should involve communities and civil society organizations.

Merauke, 18 December 2012
Sincerely Yours,

No. Name, Village, Position
1.    David Kabaljai, Baidub, Clan Member
2.    Bertila Mahuze, Boha, Clan Member
3.    Willem Mahuze, Boha, Head of Village
4.    Markus Dambujai, Bupul, Clan Member
5.    Petrus Mekiuw, Bupul, Clan Member
6.    Bibiana Kodaip, Erambu, Clan Member
7.    Elvas Kabujai, Erambu, Clan Member
8.    Polikarpa Basik-Basik, Kindiki, Clan Member
9.    Sebastianus Ndiken, Kindiki, Leader of BianEnim Indigenous Peoples Organization
10.    Simon Mahuze, Kindiki, Village Officer
11.    Chriz Ungkujai, Kweel, Clan Mekiuw Leader
12.    Klemes Mahuze, Muting, Clan Member
13.    Maurits A. Mahuze, Muting, Clan Member
14.    Paustinus Ndiken, Muting, Secretary of Indigenous Peoples Organization
15.    Silvester Ndiken, Muting, Clan Leader
16.    Yanuarius Wotos, Muting, Clan Member
17.    Melkias Basik-Basik, Pachas, Clan Member
18.    Simson A. Basik – Basik, Pachas, Clan Member
19.    Susana Mahuze, Pachas, Clan Member
20.    David Dagijai, Poo, Leader of Yeinan  Organization
21.    Siprianus Kodaip, Poo, Clan Member
22.    Abner Mugujai, Tanas, Leader of Tanas Organization
23.    Carolina Mandowen, Tanas, Clan Member

 

Take Care of Our Rivers and Give Us Back our Land

Sawit Watch / SKP KAMe

Press Release

December 20, 2012

West Papua’s natural resources are being exploited by extractive industries, especially around Merauke. When it was launched in August 2010, the MIFEE mega-project was described as an initiative to meet the world’s food needs, a response to the world food crisis. As well as this, there are the current global concerns that the diminishing reserves of fossil fuel globally are bringing about a energy crisis.

https://i0.wp.com/sawitwatch.or.id/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Sawit-Papua.jpg

With an area of over 1.2 million hectare earmarked for the project, the Merauke Regency Government hoped to turn Merauke into a centre of urban agriculture, agribusiness and agrotourism. Many companies welcomed the government’s offer and saw it as a great opportunity to expand their operations in eastern Indonesia. Merauke Regency’s Investment Planning Board (Badan Perencanaan Investasi Daerah or BAPINDA) has recorded that 46 companes have obtained permits, and some of which have already commenced operations. (data from Bapinda, September 2012).

The extent of concessions for large-scale oil-palm plantations in Indonesia currently exceeds 11.5 million hectares (Sawit Watch, 2011), stretching over all of Indonesia’s island groups both large and small, from Sabang at the westernmost tip of Aceh, to Merauke in South-East Papua.  The first palm-oil plantation in Merauke was started in 1997 by Pt Tunas Sawa Erma, a subsidiary of the Korindo Group. There are currently six oil palm plantation companies which have begun operations on Malind Anim land in Merauke: PT Dongin Prabhawa (Korindo Group), PT Bio Inti Agrindo (Korindo Group) [awasMIFEE note: PT Bio Inti Agrindo was actually bought by Daewoo International in 2011, and still belongs
to that company as far as we know], PT Central Cipta Murdaya (CCM), PT Agriprima Cipta Persada, PT Hardaya Sawit Papua and PT Berkat Citra Abadi (Korindo Group). Hundreds of thousands of hectares of indigenous people’s land will be appropriated, the forest destroyed and replaced with large-scale oil palm plantations.

Oil-palm plantations along the shores of the Bian and Maro Rivers have already brought serious problems for the indigenous people and clans that live in the area and own the land.  Oil-palm companies have been clearing land by burning, which has polluted water in the rivers and swamps, damaged and wiped out cultural sites and caused irreplaceable damage to the natural environment.  This is aggravated by a lack of information about companies’ status and plans, wrongful identification
of which clans own or have rights over which land, insufficient payment of compensation and deception and manipulation of data.  As a result the clans and tribes living along the Maro and Bian rivers have been dispossessed of their customary lands.

On the 31st July2011, 13 civil society organisations signed and delivered a letter to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discriminaton (CERD), accusing the MIFEE Mega-Project of bringing about the destruction of indigenous societies in Papua and in Merauke in particular.  A response to this letter was received from Anwar Kemal, Chairperson of the Committee on the Elimnation of Racial Discrimination, on the 2nd September 2011.  It requested that the Indonesian Government, which became a party to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination 1965 when it ratified Law number 29 of 1999, to give a swift response and clarification before 31st January 2012.   Until now, the government has still not given its response. The government is showing neglect and disregard and it’s not for the first time – previously in 2007 they had planned to fell the forest along the whole Indonesia-Malaysia border for oil palm plantations.

Seeing the conditions that indigenous communities in the villages along the Bian and Maro rivers are currently facing, with their land already allocated to large scale oil palm plantation concessions, we strongly advocate the following:

1. Companies must be responsible and make restorations, as well as giving compensation to people living along the Bian River as far as Kaptel and the Maro River for the environmental damage and pollution caused by oil palm plantation operations.

2. The government must carry out a review and evaluation of the permits which have been given to oil palm plantations on indigenous land belonging to the clans and tribes which live in Merauke Regency, revoke and cancel location permits and withdraw all commercial cultivation rights from customary lands in Merauke Regency.

3. The government must stop issuing new permits in Merauke Regency before all current problems are resolved, as well as repairing the damage that has already been done to the various communities.

4. As a party which has ratified the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination 1965 through Law number 29 of 1999, the government must immediately respond to the Chairperson of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination Anwar Kemal’s letter dated 2nd  September 2011 (which was a response to the concerns raised to the UN CERD on 31st July 2011).

Source: Sawit Watch http://sawitwatch.or.id/2012/12/1047/
Translated and posted on awasMIFEE: https://awasmifee.potager.org/?p=302