President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo has continued with his initiative to grant landless farmers living in areas controlled by state-owned forestry firm Perhutani in Java certificates to allow them to utilize degraded forest lands for up to 35 years. (Photo courtesy of Cabinet Secretariat)

Landless Farmers Across Java Receive Permits to Plant on Degraded Forest Land

BY :DAMES ALEXANDER SINAGA

NOVEMBER 07, 2017

Jakarta. President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has continued with his initiative to grant landless farmers living in areas controlled by state-owned forestry firm Perhutani in Java certificates to allow them to utilize degraded forest lands for up to 35 years.

A social forestry scheme (IPHPS) under a Ministry of Environment and Forestry decree allows landless farmers organized in associations to gain profit from the forests degraded by Perhutani.

The so-called degraded forests are lands that have been either logged or destroyed by natural disasters like fires.

On Monday (06/11), Jokowi visited East Java to issue permits, which cover around 2,890 hectares of degraded forests, to 1,662 households in Madiun, Tulungaggung and Tuban.

Last week, Jokowi issued similar permits in Bekasi, West Java, to 1,070 households to utilize 2,145 hectares of degraded land.

In total, the president has issued land permits covering 9,550.15 hectares of Perhutani degraded forests to 5,915 households in ten districts on Java.

The IPHPS implementation started in July. Until Sept. 13, the ministry issued seven permits — covering in total 4,969 hectares — to 2,518 households in Bekasi and Bandung (West Java), Pemalang (Central Java) and Probolinggo (East Java).

Jokowi has said that IPHPS permits will continue to be granted until 2019.

"Until 2019, we will issue permits, covering 4.3 million hectares to communities all over the country [...] to be useful for the sake of welfare society," Jokowi said in Madiun as quoted from a government statement.

"Please plant anything in the area and treat it well. Someday, if I find the land is not utilized, I will revoke the permits," he said.

Three state-owned companies will absorb the production from the degraded forests. Plantation firm PTPN will take tobacco and sugar cane produce, the State Logistics Agency (Bulog) will take rice and corn, while state-run fishery company Perum Perindo will absorb the production from shrimp farms, an official at environment and forestry ministry has said earlier, adding that several private companies will also be involved.

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