REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, JAKARTA -- A number of non governmental organizations (NGOs) asked the government to use the resolution of the European Parliament to push for change to improve the management of oil palm plantations in Indonesia.
Coordinator of the associations of oil palm farmers (SPKS) Mansuetus Darto said the resolution of the European Parliament should serve to push the government into creating a new road map for the management of oil palm plantations in the country in favor of the farmers by providing farmers with access to banks and help the farmers to improve their productivity and create more jobs.
"We know that so far farmers have been used to provide legitimacy for the action of corporations and supporters of the oil palm industry," Mansuetus said.
He said the Land Use Permit for oil palm plantations should be taken over by the government to be distributed among farmers as part of the land reform program.
Earlier, Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya blasted the European Parliament's allegations against Indonesian palm oil industry as groundless and despicable.
"The allegation linking palm oil industry to corruption, exploitation of children and abolition of rights of traditional communities is despicable and irrelevant," the minister said referring to the European Parliament's allegation through its 'Report on Palm Oil and Deforestation of Rain Forests' issued in Strasbourg on April 4, 2017.
Siti described the motion directed by the European Parliament to Indonesia as an "unacceptable insult" to the Indonesian government.
She said the government of President Joko Widodo has sought to launch a sustainable management of oil palm plantations and land farming-based industry.
She said the European Parliament has insulted Indonesia by saying oil palm is a big problem in the country linked to corruption and violation of human rights.
She said for Indonesia oil palm plantations constitute a big industry concerning the livelihood of farmers, who account for 41 percent of the total plantations of 11 million hectares. The industry and its downstream sector provide jobs for 16 million workers, she added.
She said Indonesian Parliament is, as the European Parliament and other countries are, committed to implementing the Paris Agreement on climate change.
She denied accusation about abolition of the rights of traditional communities over forests , saying the rights of traditional communities are well protected by the government.
"The president has shown special attention to protecting the rights of traditional communities over forests," she added.
She said the studies on oil palm plantations by the European Parliament was incomplete and it was offending as it is full of false allegations. The report called for boycott of investment in oil palm industry in favor of investment in sun flower or rapeseed industry.
Siti asked other countries to let Indonesia solve its own problems including in coping with forest fires, managing forest and peat lands, protecting its fauna and flora as a contribution to the world.
"Indonesia would stand firm in facing any country in the world when its sovereignty is questioned," she said.
She called on all business people and industrialists in Indonesia to work together with the government in line with the country's regulation and to remain unaffected by the European Parliament report.
The European Parliament accepted a resolution in its plenary session on palm oil and deforestation. An overwhelming majority of 640 votes were in favor of the resolution with only 18 against and 28 abstains.
The resolution, however, is not yet binding until it is approved by the European Commission.
Indonesia is the world's largest producer of crude palm oil, and Europe has been a major market for the country's palm oil products.