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Jakarta Post

Activists howl at palm oil bill

  • Hans Nicholas Jong

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Mon, October 17 2016   /  07:57 am

With Indonesia facing land and forest fires every year that are mostly man-made disasters that have degraded the health of its citizens as well as that of its neighbors, the government has vowed to improve the sustainability of its agroforestry sector, particularly the palm oil industry.

The government plans to impose a moratorium on the issuance of new permits for oil palm plantations and to ban oil palm expansion through land clearing, one of the main causes of land and forest fires.

According to data from the Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), from 439 companies involved in the 2015 forest fires, 308 of them were palm oil companies.

But all of these plans may go out the window if the House of Representatives and the government approve the contentious palm oil bill, which critics say contains provisions that protect business at the expense of the envir...