Business leaders and even top government officials have been left surprised by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s announcement last week that the country would impose a two-year moratorium on the clearing of natural forests, which may affect various foreign investment projects.
Environmentalists are up in arms over the latest design for the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate in Papua, which they say will see more than 1.1 million hectares of forests converted into agricultural estates.
The Agricultural Stance Coalition has rejected the government’s plan to establish a food estate in Merauke, Papua. According to them, the plan sounds reckless and letting the people of Indonesia become slaves in their own country.
Plans for a US$6 billion food estate in the Merauke region of West Papua has been attacked by farmer and environmental organisations as a land grab that would destroy 2 million hectares of virgin forest.