Greenpeace, Riau-based NGO join forces on multimedia exhibition to encourage Indonesian Government to support responsible, small-scale palm oil producers helping to protect forests, peatland

JAKARTA , July 26, 2012 (press release) – Greenpeace and Riau-based NGO, Perkumpulan Elang, have joined forces to a host multimedia exhibition aimed at encouraging the Indonesian Government to support responsible small scale palm oil smallholders.

The exhibition titled "Good Oil: Local Action for Global Solutions" focuses on assisting independent palm oil plantation smallholders who have applied responsible environmental principles through forest and peatland protection.

"Greenpeace is challenging the Government to use the responsible practices by palm oil farmers in Dosan village in Riau as a model of economic development in the agricultural sector. This model not only improves the lives of the community, it also protects the forest, without violating line with the President's commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, "said Wirendro Sumargo, Greenpeace Forest Campaigner.

Perkumpulan Elang and Greenpeace supported the innovative approach of the Dosan farmers by providing a mentoring program for small scale palm oil plantations, as well as promoting responsible plantation management in seven other villages in Siak District.

“We realised that if we destroyed the forests to expand our plantations, it would increase climate change and reduce bio-diversity, which would affect our productivity in the long term,” said Dahlan, a board member of the Bungo Tanjung Cooperative in Dosan Village.

Since February 2011, over 1,000 palm plantation smallholders owning 3.500 hectares of plantation, declared their commitment to manage their plantations sustainably and responsibly and protect 740 hectares of remaining forest nearby their village.

"The group of palm plantation smallholders from seven cooperatives in Pusako Subdistrict, Siak, is a good model for independent smallholders that should be supported by all parties,” said Riko Kurniawan, Perkumpulan Elang Director. “This proves that community farming incomes can be increased at the same time as protecting forests. “We hope to gain support for these products from the international market as it is important to strengthen the bargaining position of independent smallholders in palm oil sector industry,” he added.

This multimedia exhibition featuring photographs and video of villagers in Dosan, Siak District who choose to save the remaining forest in there and were able to improve their plantations’ productivity. This is in stark contrast to the big palm oil companies which continue their destructive expansion.

Deforestation and peatland clearance contributes 85% of Indonesia's greenhouse gas emissions. One of the major drivers of deforestation, identified by the Indonesian National Council of Climate Change (DNPI), is from the palm oil sector. DNPI estimates that the palm oil and pulp & paper sectors will be responsible for at least 50% of the 28 million hectares of deforestation that is predicted by 2030.

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