Foreign firms control oil-palm fields in RI, Apkasindo says

Medan (Antara News) - The Association of Indonesian Oilpalm Farmers (Apkasindo) says the government had been lax in keeping abreast of foreign control over oil-palm plantations in the country.

Apaskindo Secretary General Asmar Arsjad said here on Tuesday the government had been off-guard with regard to foreign land ownership. "This will lead to a take-over of palm-oil fields by them as transactions are made illicitly," he said.

Asmar said the inventory of land under foreign parties` control had now even become unclear following the implementation of regional autonomy.

He said Apkasindo estimated almost one million hectares of oil-palm plantations in Indonesia were controlled by foreign parties.

He expressed concern that the government did not have any accurate data on it. "Following the implementation of regional autonomy ownership of oil-palm plantations has become unclear because there was no record about it as ownership was gained through third parties," he said.

He said he hoped the government would soon put the situation in order through implementation of a one-gate policy in the issuance of licenses to get authentic data.

According to Apkasindo the government had to pay attention to the problem because it was related with land availability for local oil palm plantations.

"We can accept the presence of foreign parties but the government needs to be careful with regard to land ownership by foreign parties," he said.(*)
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