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Indonesia’s mega food estate may ‘undo’ Marind tribe

INDONESIA: A massive food estate, envisioned to boost Indonesia’s food production, might be the “undoing” of a tribe in  West Papua, the easternmost island under the country’s control, an NGO warned.

In a paper, Sawit Watch,  (Oil Palm Watch) said  the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE) poses a threat to the Marind tribe.

Members of the Marind tribe obtain  almost 97% of their needs from forests, swamps, rivers and the sea, the NGO said in the paper  published in Lok Niti, the journal of the Asian NGO Coalition.

“Thus, when all customary forests of the Marind are converted for business interests, it is not so hard to imagine that this will be the undoing of the tribe,” Sawit Watch said.

“The MIFEE mega project will only worsen the situation of IPs who own the customary right, as has happened to the Marind Mbiyan and the Yeinan in District Muting, as well as the Ulilin and Elikobel tribes who faced the same dilemma,” said the NGO, which has been documenting the expansion of palm oil plantations in the country since 2000. Read the rest of this entry