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Minister of Forestry: The sugar cane plantations in Aru, Cancelled!

After the survey and area research, found that land in Aru unsuitable for cultivates cane, ‘ said minister of forestry Zulkifli Hasan when met Ekuatorial in his office in Manggala Wanabhakti, Jakarta, Friday (11/4).

Minister Zulkifli commented on the plan of opening up to 500 thousand ha sugar cane plantation in Aru, Maluku, that is rejected by many environmental activists because it is predicted will destroy forest and environment in the island.

According to the minister, the slope of land in Aru causing sugar cane plantation not visible and unfavorable economically, said Zulkifli. He also expressed that the plan planting cane is related to the efforts of the government in reducing the number of sugar national import that has reached 3 million tons per year.

This minister’s statement absorbs the opinion from Pjs Maluku Governor  Saut Situmorang, after holding limited meeting between PT. Menara Group (MG), and Lantamal Papua and representatives from local government last February, 6. At that time Saut commented that Aru is just a stretch of reeds in which investors should get a chance to manage land in Aru.

Before this, PT Menara Group as the national plantation companies claimed has received permission to manage 500 thousand hectares of land, or 76% of the forest in Aru. Permission received by consortium of 28 companies is  Plantation Business License (PBL) from former Aru Regent Teddy Tangko and recommendations of discharge forest areas signed by the former Moluccas Governor Karel Albert Ralahalu.

Triggering conflict,  rejection extends

The stub of mega project in Aru have been started since 2007. Since then, the company with the support from the local government is rumored to intensive testing feasibility of land as well as the approach to local communities. However, as spoken by one of the inisator movement #SaveAru, Jacky Manuputty when contacted on Tuesday (8/4), indigenous people as landowners intensively refuse that.

People in 117 village has held a ritual “sasi”, closing the forest Ulayat. Eighty village chief and the owner of petuanan also have agreed signed a letter of refusal on duty stamp sent to the various institutions, including to the company, said Jacky. He also added that motion #savearu, petition online made in order to refuse forest overfunction into sugar cane plantation, until now has been supported by almost 15,000 people who come from various countries.

Unfortunately, an interview request from Ekuatoriall to the president director of Menara Group Chairul Anhar not yet intercepted since week ago, according to the secretary in his office, Chairul was out of the country. Januar Hakam & Azhari Fauzi

Tebu, Pulau Aru
Indicative Map of Sugar Cane Plantation in Aru, Maluku
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