The Forest Scribe

Four Indonesian Ministries Synergize to Strengthen Social Forestry Program

What is a social forest

The Environment and Forestry Ministry, mindful that it is too large a task for one government agency, is forging a synergy with three other ministries to implement its social forestry program as a means to alleviate rural poverty.

Four deputy ministers — from the Environment and Forestry Ministry, the Ministry of Villages and Underdeveloped Regions, the Ministry of Agrarian Affairs and Spatial Zoning as well as  the Ministry of Trade – met last week at the Environment and Forestry Ministry to work together in coordinating, synchronizing and integrating their efforts to promote the social forestry program.

“Coordination, synchronization and integration between the ministries are mandated by the president so that the development process can become more effective. The Environment and Forestry Ministry has a poverty eradication program through the provision of legal access to forested land to the people through the Social Forestry Program. This is being developed but it needs the support of other ministries,” Alue Dohong, the Deputy Minister of Environment and Forestry said according to a report carried on the ministry’s official website.

Budi Arie Setiadi, Deputy Minister of Villages and Underdeveloped Regions, said that the social forestry program was in line with his ministry’s aims to increase the welfare of underdeveloped villages around forested areas. He asked the Environment and Forestry Ministry to prepare 100 social forestry business groups in Java to be made into models of poverty eradication through the social forestry program.

Budi said that cooperation between the ministry could be oriented toward empowering the villages through strengthening agriculture and forestry and opening up access to banking and market.

“Villagers only face two problems, one is product packaging technology and product marketing. If these could be overcome, village development will be able to proceed well,” Budi said.

Officials data showed that so fare 818,457 families have been given access to forest management under 6,411 forest management permits covering forested areas of 4.048 million hectares.

Meanwhile, Deputy Minister of Agrarian Affairs and Spatial Zoning, Surya Tjandra said that he was asking the Environment and Forestry Ministry to accelerate the issuance of land certificates for land in forest areas that it had already agreed to release as land that are part of the agrarian reforms.

“To accelerate this on the field, the Environment and Forestry Ministry will work together with the Ministry of Agrarian Affairs and Spatial Zoning. The team from the Environment and Forestry Ministry and that from the Agrarian Affairs and Spatial Zoning must go to the field together, not wait for each other. Working on it together will be much quicker,” Alue commented.

Alue and Budi asked Deputy Trade Minister Jerry Sambuaga to provide data on what import products could be produced in the country as well as what agriculture commodities were in high demand in international markets.

The data, they said, would be used to develop the appropriate agriculture products in rural areas so that the yields could be better absorbed by the market, domestic and international.

The Social Forestry Program, part of agrarian reform for the forestry sector, targets the allocation of 12.7 million hectares of land to be managed by people who live in and around the forests.

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