Land and food security

Down to Earth No. 50, August 2001


Communities in Kalimantan are trying to secure fair compensation for lands and resources from two oil palm plantation companies funded by CDC, the British private investment agency. Although some moves towards negotiations have been made, CDC still fails to acknowledge that the projects' policies on land acquisition and community relations have led to social conflict, deforestation and, for some communities, increased poverty.

Down to Earth No 50 August 2001


By the North Sumatra Peasants Union, edited by Osmar Tanjung and DTE

There have been no real changes to the lives of the people in Aceh since the withdrawal of 'DOM' status (Military Operational Area) in August 1998. Conditions in Aceh are still extremely bad, and continue to deteriorate.

During all armed conflicts, it is the ordinary people who suffer, often sacrificed to the interests of the military and political elite.

Down to Earth No 50 August 2001


Indonesian NGOs objecting to a government decree allowing the planting of Monsanto's GM cotton are taking the agriculture minister to court in an attempt to have the decree annulled.

The NGO Coalition for Biosafety and Food Safety has launched a court action to annul Decree No. 107/2001 which allows the limited release of genetically modified cotton in South Sulawesi province.

Down to Earth No 49 May 2001

Indonesia has permitted the planting of genetically modified crops without public consultation and without adequate legal protection for farmers, consumers and the environment.

On March 15th, forty tons of genetically modified (GM) cotton seeds arrived from South Africa at Hasanuddin airport in Makassar, South Sulawesi. The seeds were trucked away under armed guard, to be sold to farmers in seven districts in the province. They were imported by PT Monagro Kimia the Indonesian subsidiary of US-based agro-chemical giant, Monsanto.

Down to Earth No. 49, May 2001

Biotech companies have formed powerful alliances with multilateral development banks, UN agencies, Northern governments, research institutes, large funding organisations and 'independent' agencies to promote biotech agriculture and GM seeds in developing countries.

Down to Earth No. 49, May 2001


A large proportion of Indonesia's farmers - especially outside Java - are organic farmers simply because they were not targeted or did not participate in the "green revolution" and are continuing traditional methods of farming. In other areas, farmers could no longer afford pesticides and fertilisers when prices shot up as a result of the economic crisis. This meant that arguments for organic farming methods started making a lot of sense.

Down to Earth No 49 May 2001


An eco-disaster in the making, the Mamberamo mega-project is to go ahead soon, according to Indonesian government officials. The first stage of the project will go ahead after the implementation of 'special autonomy' and will be jointly managed by foreign investors, through the Jakarta and provincial administration, according to Dance Flassy, head of Development of Irian Jayan Autonomy.