JAKARTA, SAWIT INDONESIA – The people of South Halmahera have flatly denied the American NGOs’ allegation against Korindo which operates oil palm farm in South Halmahera, North Maluku. The residents feel that Korindo’s subsidiary, GMM (PT Gelora Mandiri Membangun) has made substantive contribution to the local community and its economy. They complain that this American NGO, Rainforest Action Network (RAN) based in San Francisco, and TuK Indonesia (RAN’s local agent) are circulating false information among the people of Halmahera.
“They (RAN and TuK Indonesia) lied to us about oil palm. “All in all, the oil palm farm managed by GMM has brought about positive results. We need jobs. Why would we reject that?” said Syahril, a local resident of South Halmahera, who is in Jakarta to attend the annual meeting of Rembug Nasional Petani Kelapa Sawit Indonesia (Indonesian Palm Oil Farmers National Conference).
According to Syahril, the people in Gane Village have now come to realize the importance of oil palm for the welfare of the community. Initially, he and other residents were not sure of oil palm. Now that they understand oil palm better, they are positive on oil palm.
The people also agree with the document issued in 2016 by the Ministry of Forestry and Environment in South Halmahera which stated that land clearing was not done by burning.
Mahdi, the head of local agricultural co-op (Gane Bersatu Cooperatives) refutes the allegation by the American NGO, RAN, that GMM took over the community’s land without any consent or agreement. “That is a lie, because to this day there are many people here who want to transfer the land to GMM and get the compensation.” Mahdi said. He went on to say that GMM is trying hard to maintain a good relationship with the community. There has never been any violence against local residents by GMM colluding with the local police contrary to another false claim by this American NGO in San Francisco, RAN.
Mahdi explained that prior to Korindo’s presence, there had never been a single resident who went to university. Now, young people have managed to go to universities. The construction of roads between the villages and other infrastructure development have also been possible due to GMM’s presence. Although GMM was established only a few years ago, the company has helped the community in many ways.
Both of these representatives of Gane Village, South Halmahera, hoped that there would be no longer unfounded attack against the oil palm farm by the American NGO, RAN. They feel that the palm operation benefits the people now and in future. They also made it clear that the NGOs like RAN must actually come to the community, meet and talk to the people directly (rather than announcing from their office in the US) if they are serious about this community’s welfare.
Source : sawitindonesia.com