Issues

Land Conflict in Oil Palm Plantations

 

Land Conflict in Oil Palm Plantations

Indonesia is the world’s leading producer of palm oil, with 8.4 million hectares of oil palm plantations in 2010. However, further expansion of the sector is to be expected. The country has set a target of a 60% production increase by 2020 to meet the growing global demand. Moreover, 18 million hectares of suitable land have been identified and targeted for future development.

In recent years, palm oil has drawn growing attention due to the environmental impacts caused by forest and peat land conversion, as well as social impacts linked to land disputes and conflict with local and indigenous communities.

With present and future expansion of oil palm plantations, instances of new land-use conflicts are to be expected. For instance, in 2012, of 232 reported agrarian conflicts, more than half (119) were related to the oil-palm industry. In 2014, 591 land conflicts in 22 provinces and 143 districts were associated with oil palm plantations.1 The number of communities across Indonesia involved in conflicts with palm oil estates has also risen from almost 200 in 2004 to 680 in 2013.2

 

 
[1] Tandan Sawit, “Kaleidoskop Perkebunan 2014: Tugas Menyelesaikan Warisan Konflik di Sektor Perkebunan Sawit” [Plantation Kaleidoscope 2014: Unfinished Tasks to Solve Palm Oil Conflict Legacy], December 2014. 
[2] Ben Block, Oil Palm Industry Takes Land, Promises Livelihood, Worldwatch Institute, April 2009, accessed July 20, 2016, http://www.worldwatch.org/node/6075 and Tandan Sawit, “Kaleidoskop Perkebunan 2014: Tugas Menyelesaikan Warisan Konflik di Sektor Perkebunan Sawit” [Plantation Kaleidoscope 2014: Unfinished Tasks to Solve Palm Oil Conflict Legacy], December 2014.