Jakarta. Pilot projects established to introduce forest fire prevention procedures will this year involve the private sector, particularly major pulp and paper firms, following massive fires across the country last year.
"Mr. Ferry — the Minister of Land and Spatial Planning — has made the standard and we want to check whether the standard is enough," Chief Economics Minister Darmin Nasution told reporters on Wednesday (25/05).
The project, which will take approximately two months, will study the process and mechanism of a special tactical team and a crisis center to approach local communities and persuade them to adopt new ways of farming without clearing the land by fire.
The project will also asses the equipment will be sufficient for each crisis center to handle fire emergencies and determine if Manggala Agni — a special fire-fighting unit under Conservation of Natural Resources Unit at the Ministry of Environment and Forestry — should become a separate entity from the ministry.
Darmin believes that Indonesia will take advantage of the late dry season this year to prepare and prevent further loss from future forest fires.
"We've started preparing equipment and water sources as part of each crisis center, but the centers are yet to be standardized," Ferry Mursyidan Baldan, the minister of land and spatial planning, said separately.
"Once we have a [national] standard, we can give warnings for those who don't comply," he said.
After the test, the standard can be applied to 731 villages across seven provinces in Sumatra and Kalimantan where forest fires are common during the dry season.
The government will be working together with several high profile pulp and paper as well as agriculture companies, including Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper (RAPP), Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), Tripura Agro Persada, Sinar Mas Agro Resources and Technology (SMART) and Asian Agri during the project which will take around two months.
Most of these companies launched their own community development program to reduce fire incident and keep residential areas around its plantation fire-free during the dry season.
RAPP has started its so called “Desa Bebas Api," or Free Fire Village, a program focusing on a community development that rewards fire-prone villages around the company’s plantations for keeping the area free of fires during the dry season since 2015.
SMART established the Desa Siaga Api (or "fire ready village") in March.