30 Jul 2008

Papuans to enjoy spoils of Indonesia's oil palm boom, says govt

11:00 am on 30 July 2008

Indonesia's Department of Agriculture says its serious about ensuring Papuans have a fair share of the prosperity from oil palm development in the region.

Indonesia, which is the world's largest palm oil producer, is looking to expand its oil palm plantations in its vast easternmost provinces in Papua.

However NGOs like Telepak and greenpeace are warning that as well as having disastrous enviornmental impacts on Papuan communities through deforestation, oil palm contractors tend to prioritise outside workers.

But the department's Director of Seedlings and Production Means, Darmansyah Basyaruddin, says thousands of the local labour force will be absorbed.

"The development is for the people. Our concept is People, Planet and Profit. So without the people, we cannot do it; without the planet, we cannot do it; without the profit, we CANNOT do it. It's impossible for us to develop a region without considering the prosperity of the people there."

Darmansyah Basyaruddin says local Papuan landowner groups should be able to take up to majority shares in oil palm ventures on their soil.