A startling new report reveals that Asia Pulp and Paper’s massive new paper mill in South Sumatra could experience a substantial shortfall in fibre supply. To make up this shortfall, there is a risk that APP will seek fibre from other sources as happened in the past when the company chewed through natural forests in Riau and Jambi to supply its mills.
NGOs express concern about whether the company can sustain its 2013 commitment to ‘Zero Deforestation’. Even if the company does seek to supply the mill only from plantations on deforested lands, there is a major risk the plantations will take over communities’ customary lands.
The report by a coalition of Indonesian and international NGOs including Forest Peoples Programme was released today at a press conference in Jakarta. As noted in the press release, the mill and its plantations already affect the livelihoods of thousands of people who have lived for decades on lands now being used by APP.
The company is embroiled in hundreds of land use conflicts across Indonesia and has yet to reach an agreement with any community after vowing to settle such disputes in 2013. Once the new mill begins operating, "I think it will be even more difficult for communities to get their land back" said Aidil Fitri, of Hutan Kita Institute, which is advocating for two communities in conflict with APP in South Sumatra. "Now they have OKI mill and we believe they need more lands for their plantations," he said. "On the other side, the communities who have conflicts with APP need their lands back for their livelihood, to do agriculture, not for acacia plantations."