Companies eyeing Merauke integrated food and energy estate

Senin, 17 Desember 2012 | 13:33

Many companies are keen to operate in the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE) area due to its favourable geographic location, according to Greenpeace`s mapping and research head, Kiki Taufik."It is a low-lying area, close to the sea. Therefore, many companies are eyeing it," he said here on Friday.

Lowlands are considered to be suitable for plantation, while proximity to the sea helps reduce transportation costs.

According to a WWF report on Sahul region, about 54 to 60 percent of the MIFEE area is under industrial timber plantation.

"Based on the data from the regional Investment Coordinating Board, the size of the MIFEE area is 2.16 million hectares, which are managed by 45 companies," Kiki noted.

"The MIFEE area is supposed to be used primarily for food production, but many companies are vying to get permission for palm and timber plantations," he pointed out.

Earlier, Greenpeace had urged the government to reconsider issuing plantation permits for the MIFEE area.

"The provincial government responded to our call, but things are not as they should be at the district level," Kiki said.

"District-level administrators are getting easily tempted by the companies' offers," he added.

The MIFEE program was launched on August 11, 2010. It was aimed at supporting the production of rice, sugarcane, maize, soybean and oil palm plantations, as well as for cattle ranching and fishing.