Jambi, INDONESIA -- The Aliansi Gerakan Reforma Agraria (AGRA), led the farmers of Pandan Lagan village to reclaim their lands.
The AGRA is an active member of the Asian Peasant Coalition (APC) in Indonesia.
“In 1982, people from Java and other province migrated to Pandan Lagan as part of the government program. In 1986, the government developed an irrigation within the 1,200 hectares of lands with the promise to distribute the land among the farmers (2hectares per people),” according to Ipang, coordinator AGRA- Jambi.
“Since then, the people cultivated their land. They planted rice, corn, vegetable and other crops. The local government gave them land ownership statement for making their land productive for some years;” added Ipang.
“‘However, in 2001 the district government t granted a permit to PT. Kaswari Unggul, a palm oil company, on the same land occupied by the people. Since then, the company started bulldozing the agricultural crops without notice and compensation,” remarked Rahmat Ajiguna, APC deputy secretary general and AGRA secretary general.
“In the concession letter, the company should buy the land to from the affected villagers…. The people never sold their land. Why does the company still exist in the village?”, the farmer leader stressed.
“We started to organize them in 2008 and we began our collective protests. .On 26th of March, together with AGRA -Jambi, we started to reclaim our lands. This is our 5th day, and the people will remain in their lands,” Rahmat said.
“We call on the Indonesian government to stop Land Grabbing and immediately revoke the permit of PT Kaswani. We demand for Genuine Agrarian Reform,” Rahmat ended.
The AGRA said this militant action coincides with the APCs 9th anniversary on March 29. The APC launches on Thursday the year-long celebration of “A Decade of APC” that will end on March 29, 2013.