Local farmers together with several mass-organizations under the ‘Koalisi Rakyat Sumsel Menggugat’ protested against the ever-increasing corporate land acquisitions and clearances taking place in South Sumatra. According to the coalition’s records, corporations control 5.5 million acres of land from the total of 8.7 million acres available in the province.
“2.2 million acres of them are controlled by the Indonesian government, including state forests and plantations. This only leaves around one million acres of land for South Sumatra’s 8.04 million people of South Sumatra,” said the Director of Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) Hadi Jatmiko.
Hadi argues that this corporate land domination added with the overlapping regulations is the main culprit behind the agrarian conflict. Many cases of agrarian conflicts have taken place, up to physically violent land seizures that allegedly involved corporations. His records show that there have been 35 villages in the area that experienced such atrocities.
South Sumatra Walhi recorded 19 companies that control 1.5 million acres of land at the forestry and industrial crops sector. 12 corporation groups control one million acres of land that is mostly used for palm oil plantations. Another 2.5 million acres of the region is also being used for mining. Walhi claims that 370 mining permits have been issued throughout 2003-2015.
“The latest data is still being compiled, that land area used for mining purposes has grown rapidly which is a contrast to the implementation of social forestry program achievements,” he said.