Greater access by local communities to Indonesian forests marks progress in a push by the government for land reforms, officials said on Friday (20/10), despite criticism that the efforts still lead nowhere.
Cases including land grabbing are common in the one of the world’s most natural resources-dependent countries.
More than 1 million hectares of forests across Indonesia have been designated to be managed by about 250 households in the past three years, government data shows.
The figure is expected to reach 2 million by the end of this year, and nearly 3 million in 2019, said Abetnego Tarigan of the Presidential Staff Office.
“It’s much bigger than what was achieved in previous years … [the process] is not as fast as we had earlier imagined, but we’re making improvements,” Abetnego said in Jakarta.
Activists say, however, that President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s administration has not addressed the real problems yet.
“The government has been talking about land reforms over the past years, but what kind of reforms?” said Ronny Maulana of the Agrarian Reform Consortium (KPA).
Conflicts between local communities and forestry, mining and plantation companies were recorded on 1.2 million hectares of land and forests last year, KPA data shows.
“The government has to immediately go to the field for stocktaking,” Ronny said, adding that the reforms must be designed from the bottom-up, and not the other way around.