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Walhi Asserts Food Estate in Central Kalimantan Leads to Disaster

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TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi) denied the Ministry of Agriculture's claim that the food estate project in Central Kalimantan, nicknamed Bumi Tambun Bungai, was successful. On the contrary, Walhi believed that the project was actually exacerbating the ecological crisis and destroying the forest and peat ecosystems in the province.

“It has triggered forest fires and pollution,” said Bayu Herinata, Walhi's regional executive director in Central Kalimantan, in a webinar organized by the Walhi National Executive on Friday, January 26.

Bayu emphasized that the food estate project has taken away the living and farming space of the people, especially indigenous communities, who depend on forests as their source of livelihood and economy. The land, he added, converted into cassava plantations, “causes an ecological disaster.”

Amid the controversy over the food estate development following the fourth presidential debate on January 21, Agriculture Minister Andi Amran Sulaiman announced on January 24 the success of the corn harvest in Gunung Mas, Central Kalimantan. 

Amran claimed that the food estate had produced 6.5 tons of corn per hectare. He said the agricultural technology adopted for the lands was accurate and as expected. 

Previously, the news that the commodity was planted on the food estate land in Central Kalimantan using polybags as planting media, instead of directly on the existing land, went viral on social media.


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