Skip to content

Questioning Plasma Oil Palm Plantations in Papua

There’s coffee, petai, duku to rambutan. Jerry Enef is preparing the seeds of this fruit plant to plant in the rest of his land. Most of their customary land has been planted with oil palm. Around 1,500 hectares of Marga Enef’s land has been handed over to PT Tandan Sawita Papua (TSP) for planting oil palm. As compensation for handing over the land, currently Marga Enef gets around 200 hectares of plasma plantations.

Jerry, is the Head of the Enef clan. This clan, commonly called Keret Enef, lives in Amyu Village, East Arso District, Keerom Regency, Papua.

“In the partnership agreement, we as owners share 80 versus 20. We get 20%, the company 80%,” he said.

Marga Enef has received the plasma plantation products since 2021. They finally received them in September 2022. The plasma funds are divided into quarters. Within a year, each clan receives four times. With a land area of ​​200 hectares, Marga Enef receives around IDR 60 million every three months.

As head of the clan, Jerry divided it among all clan members, old, young, and children. “In the Enef clan each individual is divided. Small children are also divided. Those who are married get IDR 2 million, those who are not married get IDR 1 million. For school children Rp. 500,000.”

Enef is one of eight keret in the East Arso District with ulayat land being the TSP concession area. This subsidiary of PT Eagle High Plantations Tbk received a plantation business license in 2009 covering an area of ​​26,048 hectares. From there, 18,337.90 hectares have been managed. Around 13,000 hectares are usable (HGU) and planted with oil palm.

Twelve years ago, in 2010 to be precise, Jerry Enef was a clan leader who received money known as “tali asih” from the company. The public in Jayapura at that time was excited by the headline in the Bintang Papua daily ” 3 square meters of customary land is worth a piece of fried banana .”

The news discussed compensation for customary land belonging to residents of IDR 384,000 per hectare, or only IDR 384 per square meter. They compare it with the price of fried food in Jayapura Rp. 1,000 per piece.

Companies and governments do not call these funds compensation but compassion. In addition to the Tali Kasih Fund, in the same news, Handoyo, TSP’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Care at the time, said that the company would provide 20% of the oil palm plantations to the community as plasma farmers through cooperatives.

In TSP, the cooperative that manages the plasma is called the Susjetkri Cooperative. Susjetkri stands for Suskun, Jetty and Kriku, three large villages that house the customary owners in this region.

The Decree of the Keerom Regent Number 16/2013 regulates the rights and obligations of determining farmers who are indigenous peoples, administrators of the Susjetkri cooperative, and TSP.

There are no specifics in the agreement. One of the articles regarding the obligations of plasma farmers includes providing a minimum of two hectares of land per family. Farmers must also be willing to deduct from the yield of fresh fruit bunches (FFB) for plantation operational costs, management fees , and credit installments to partnership companies.

The company’s obligations include building gardens starting from nurseries, land clearing, to plant maintenance. Also, report the cost of maintaining the plants to the cooperative or participating farmers and the Keerom Plantation and Forestry Service, deduct the farmer’s credit installments from the proceeds from the sale of FFB at least according to the bank’s installment schedule. Then, cut the allocation of costs for maintaining the plants produced from the sale of FFB.

The obligations of cooperatives include preparing plasma farmer member cards, creating cooperative accounts, transferring plantation produce funds to plasma farmer members’ accounts, and coordinating credit installments for plasma farmer members.

“The method of distribution, when it’s time, the head of the main board has the right to oversee, disburse quarterly SHU funds, regulate according to the area of ​​the hectare, and distribute them to owners through the heads of the respective trains,” said Yohanis Bewangkir, Head of the Susjetki Cooperative Main Board.

After the distribution to the head of the train with the agreement has submitted quarterly results, then sign the receipt together. The Bewangkir train is one of the trains that enters the TSP area.

From the map of the TSP operational area held by Yohanis, eight clans with customary rights enter the TSP concession, including Putui, Jumbori, Enef, Bewangkir, Kera, Itungkir, Konondroy, and Bugovgir.

According to Yohanis, they will receive plasma money for the first time in 2020. The credit for building plasma is expected to be completed in 2025. At that time, there will be talks again, whether the plasma will still be managed by the company or to the community.

“It will be handed back to the owner if the owner understands how to manage it. If not, it means it’s still up to the company, management is in control, we (the customary owners) just have to accept the results.”

The company promised plasma plantations as part of its approach to customary owners during the process of releasing customary land not only at TSP, but also at other companies such as PT Permata Nusa Mandiri (PMN), a subsidiary of Astindo Nusantara which received a location permit for 32,000 hectares in six districts in the Valley. Grime, Jayapura Regency, also uses this approach.

In 2018, four HGUs were issued in this company’s IUP. Two on behalf of the Vegetable Producers Cooperative Nen Abdekan Let’s Build Plasma Together and the Musari Mandiri Plasma Producers Cooperative.

Even though they have had a permit for a long time, it was only in January 2022, right after the Ministry of Environment and Forestry revoked the forest area release permit, that PMN began clearing land. During the clearing of this land, information about the company’s permit circulated among the indigenous peoples who owned the customary land, reaping pros and cons.

Rosita Tecuari from the Indigenous Women’s Organization (Orpa) of the Namblong Tribe in the Grime Valley, who is overseeing the PMN case, stated that plasma is a company promise to traditional elders who have relinquished their customary rights.

“I once had a discussion with one of the traditional elders who is a member of the plasma cooperative. He said, if you receive palm oil, you will become a great businessman with a tie.”

The company has also promised not to work but will only receive a salary every month. Rosita imitated the statement of the traditional elders at the PMN concession site. The company promises indigenous peoples to become oil palm entrepreneurs, while saying that they only need to receive money.

In addition to the monthly salary, other guarantees guarantee children’s education and even going abroad, health, and housing construction. These promises are said to continue for posterity.

inimal results

Karel Yarangga, Head of the Plantation Division, the Papua Food Crops Service, stated that the development of plasma plantations is not part of the company’s compensation to customary owners.

Minister of Agriculture Regulation No 19/2013, palm oil companies that are operating are required to build local community plasma plantations 20% of the IUP.

“If you look at the criteria, then 100% of the plasma farmers are indigenous Papuans because those who own them, the indigenous peoples.”

There will still be compensation for releasing the land to become a company HGU, but apart from that the company has an obligation to build plasma of 20% of the area controlled.

Although cooperatives overseeing indigenous peoples were formed in various areas of the company, the reality is that none of them are directly managed by indigenous peoples.

“This plasma is not pure farmers. They are indigenous people who were immediately adopted as farmers. Due to their various weaknesses, for the most part, the company employs workers who participate in the harvest from the plasma. To put it bluntly, we have farmers who accept cleanly.” said Karel.

The income of indigenous peoples is small because they cannot control production costs. In fact, if farmers and cooperatives are strong, income can be more.

“That’s why if you look at it, we have farmers who are not prosperous. What you can see with the naked eye. The main indicator has not received the maximum from the results. Don’t manage yourself so don’t control. A lot of production costs come out.”

In fact, said Karel, the plasma area is quite large. One family can manage up to three hectares. The TSP is even bigger. One family can cover up to 10 hectares because the area is very large and there are only a few indigenous people.

“If one hectare can get IDR 2 million, one month can get Rzp 20 million.”

Related agency assistance to cooperatives and the community is very important. The Department of Agriculture, Office of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives must supervise because their rights and obligations are in the cooperation agreement. So, he said, between companies and farmers have a mutually beneficial relationship. Assistance to the community, he said, so they can manage their finances well is also important as part of this plasma.

Currently, he said, the company is paying good attention to plasma plantations to guarantee production. The company did not mean not to hand it over but when it saw that the farmers were not taking care of it, the company took over because it also had an obligation to buy the produce.

Hilman Afif from the Auriga Nusantara Foundation said the company made a lot of profit from this situation.

Plasma, he said, is often used by companies to obtain “more land” than what they have obtained through permits.

The community, he said, received little results, especially with the primary cooperative scheme for members (KKPA). In that scheme, new results are received in the seventh year after planting. The percentage of profit sharing is very small, 70% to pay installments. Only 30% is received by farmers.

Another problem, he said, is the minimal transparency of company information to indigenous peoples. Auriga Nusantara’s report with the KPK regarding the vulnerability of corruption in the oil palm plantation licensing system shows that the majority of farmers in Papua have never received information on how much it costs companies to build and maintain plasma plantations.

After the harvest, they also do not know how much income they should get.

“They are only given profit sharing from the company without knowing how much the real income and costs incurred by the company are.”

Small realization

Implementation of plasma oil palm plantations in Papua is still less than 50%. Data from the Papua Food Crops Agriculture Service states that, as of August 2022, there are around 15,850.75 hectares of plasma plantations throughout Papua. The area is in concessions of companies spread across Jayapura, Keerom, Merauke, Boven Digoel, Nabire and Mimika Regencies.

“Not 100% built yet. Some are new 40-50%,” said Karel.

He said the reason for the minimal plasma realization was due to internal company calculations. In addition, said Karel, there are concerns about forest protection campaigns by various environmental organizations.

Karel gave an example, PT Rimba Matoa Lestari in Unurum Guay District, Jayapura Regency, has not yet built a plasma because it is in a peat area.

Realization of the development of plasma plantations, he said, is part of the plantation business assessment (PUP) so the company is still trying to fulfill it.

Auriga Nusantara and the KPK used IUP data to analyze the implementation of plasma plantations in Papua. Build plasma is one of the obligations in the IUP. In Papua, 33 companies have been verified with an area of ​​897,946 hectares, seven have built plasma plantations of 7,997 hectares, although they have not met the 20% requirement.

According to Hilman, plasma realization is low due to two reasons. First , regulatory inconsistency. Companies always use Article 15 (2) of the Minister of Agriculture Regulation No.98/2013 which generally states that there is no obligation to develop plasma plantations within the permit area. In fact, before the regulation was issued, there was already Minister of Agriculture Regulation No. 26/2007 concerning Guidelines for Licensing for Plantation Businesses, which stated that the construction of gardens for the community coincided with the development of plantations operated by companies.

This 20% community garden development is within the company’s permit area. Apart from that, in the Job Creation Law, there has been a change in nomenclature, from being obliged to changing to facilitating.

Second , supervision of plasma obligations by local governments is minimal. This condition has the impact of violations by the company. In fact, violations occur in companies that have realized obligations.

“For example, in cooperation contracts between companies and farmer groups, farmers are often on the losing side.”

To improve palm oil governance in Papua, including plasma plantations, said Hilman, the government is obliged to evaluate all palm oil companies.

For companies with revoked permits, he said, the government must facilitate the process of inauguration as customary forests. Equally important, the Commission for the Supervision of Business Competition (KPPU) must step in to oversee the partnership pattern for the oil palm sector in accordance with what is mandated by Law No.20/2008 concerning Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises.

“From the many cases that have occurred, there are indications of violations, especially attempts by large businesses to dominate micro, small and medium enterprises.”

Tigor Hutapea from the Pusaka Belantara Foundation said that control practices always did not benefit indigenous peoples as landowners. They, he said, have no management power, just like plasma farmers who are part of a cooperative.

He said improvements could be made if management was purely controlled by the cooperative. Learning from independent smallholders, the selling price of FFB is always unfair.

Overcoming the complexity of the problem of oil palm plantations and the realization of plasma plantations for indigenous peoples who own this customary land, Tigor believes, must look at other economic opportunities.

Papua, has many other economic opportunities besides oil palm.

“If you want to develop oil palm, it will open access for corporations in Papua, and more forests will have to be cleared.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *