Ministry set 1.54 million ha of social forestry zones

Jambi (ANTARA News) - From the 12.7 million hectares land targeted earlier, the Environment Ministry has just set 1.54 million ha of social forestry zones, an official said here on Tuesday.

"Although the effort went bit sluggish, we could ensure people now have a secure access to the forests," the ministrys social forestry director, Erna Rosdiana said in Jambi province.

After the ministry issued the Regulation No.83 Year 2016 on Social Forestry, the procedure to set the special zone has been eased.

"Following the law, the ministry has an authority to set the social forestry zones, but later we plan to hand over it to the local governments, once they have established the task force," Rosdiana noted.

Comprised of the village, public, and joint-management forests, the special zones are part of the land-reform program proposed by President Joko Widodo to the community lived nearby the areas.

In the program, the president grant a concession until maximum 35 years for the community to optimize the resources in the forests.

"The ministry has assisted the community to wisely use the natural resources. If the working group has been established, the effort could be further accelerated," she said while adding the indigenous group and farmer community have served as the major actor to ensure the program.

Beside some assistance in providing experts, the ministry also offers the credit access to ensure the sustainability of the program.

"We will back the farmers when they are taking the credit from the bank. For example, we would encourage people to use the debt in a productive manner, such as for purchasing seeds or fertilizers," she reiterated.

According to the Secretary Cabinets official website, the president said the program aim to maintain the equality to the people lived nearby the forests.

"With social forestry, we want to return to the golden era of forestry industry on the basis of community plantation forests," the website quoted the President as saying.

Source: Antara News

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