The Forest Scribe

Indonesia Deploys Police to Safeguard Usage of Forests

The head of the Indonesian national police, General Idham Azis, has issued orders for police chiefs in the regions to take part in efforts to safeguard and optimize the usage of forest areas in their respective territory, in coordination with the local administrations.

The instruction, contained in a Telegram of the National Police Chief Number ST/41/I/Ops.2./2021 of January 12, 2021, was issued following a number of government policies in the fields of agriculture and forestry, including the recent granting of 2,929 decrees on social forestry, customary forestry and the Land for Agrarian Reform (TORA) program.

“We are asking the heads of provincial police to conduct coordination, communication and cooperation with provincial administration or those of districts or municipalities, to inventorize all customary forest, social forests and others that have been handed over to communities, including the TORA allocations based on the decrees issued for their respective regions,” the Head of the Security Maintaining Agency of the National Police, Commissioner General Agus Andrianto was quoted by the official news portal of the National Police Tribrata News on Wednesday (13/1.)

Andrianto, who had signed the telegram for the national police chief, said that the government has come out with a number of policies in the agriculture sector which can still grow in these times of Pandemic, and to optimize the usage of forests areas to benefit communities, especially in rural areas and around forests.

He said that besides referring to the series of decrees that were issued to communities, the telegram also referred to the building of food estates in the Central Kalimantan districts of Pulang Pisau and Kapuas, and the North Sumatran districts of Humbang Hasundutan and Pakpak Barat, as well as 1.3 million hectare of land redistribution allocation under the TORA program.

The head of provincial police were also asked to coordinate, communicate and cooperate with the local administration at province or district or municipal levels to continue cooperation to strengthen food resilience by making use of neglected, vacant and unproductive land in their regions.

The telegram also instructed the provincial police chiefs to provide assistance and supervision for communities that had received the decrees in their respective region.

“This is to ascertain that the said lands do not change ownership and are really used for productive economic activities that are environmentally friendly and in line with local characteristics, such as agroforestry, ecotourism, agro silvo pastoralism, bio energy business, exploitation of the non-timber products of forest as well as people’s timber estates,” Andrianto said.

He stressed that the telegram contained orders that have to be executed.

As part of the government’s policy on asset redistribution and agrarian reforms, President Joko Widodo on January 7, 2021 issued decree recognizing social forestry covering 1.442 million hectares for 651,000 families, decrees recognizing customary forests covering 37,500 hectares and decrees on land redistribution under the TORA program covering 72,000 hectares in 17 provinces.

As part of efforts to build national food resiliency and develop the agriculture sector, the government is planning to build food estates, covering 600,000 hectares in the districts of Pulang Pisau and Kapuas, and 30,000 hectares in the districts of Humbang Hasundutan and Pakpak Barat.

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