«GREED DESTROYS THE RAINFOREST» – NO MORE CONCESSIONS
«The existing palm oil concessions should be enough», says the Indonesian president Joko Widodo. This statement gives reason to hope. Widodo does not want to issue new concessions for palm oil plantations. The producers will have to use their fields in a more sustainable way and for a longer period of time, he said in an interview with Radio Australia. This is the only way to prevent dangerous wildfires like the ones in late summer last year.
The details of this urgently needed moratorium have not been fully discussed yet and it is still open when it will become applicable. But it is clear that President Widodo’s decision will only make a difference if the government enforces the ban and the environmental laws on all of the country’s islands. The decision against new concessions is a further step in the fight against the destructive palm oil industry. This industry not only harms the local flora and fauna but also affects the global climate and people around the globe.
The number and size of the plantations on Sumatra and Borneo have strongly increased over the last few years. This is due to the strong demand for palm oil. Big companies have reaped large profits at the expense of the natural environment. The palm oil industry is the largest business segment in Southeast Asia, employing around 24m people and generating an export income of almost 19b USD. Therefore, the producers claim that Widodo’s resolution will have a negative economic impact. For the same reason, it is so difficult to stop slash and burn practices as long as there is such a huge profit in palm oil. «The major cause for the wildfires is greed», says Herry Purnomo, a scientist at the Center for International Forestry Research. «As long as there is quick money to be made the rainforests will continue to burn.»