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Story Publication logo December 7, 2022

Flame of Conflict in South Hamlahera (bahasa Indonesia)


Two men carry palm oil into a truck.

This project will show the impact of palm oil investment on the environment and the habitat of...


This story excerpt was translated from bahasa Indonesia. To read the original story in full, visit Barta1.com. You may also view the original story on the Rainforest Journalism Fund website here. Our website is available in English, Spanish, bahasa Indonesia, French, and Portuguese.

Residential area in South Halmahera. Image by Budi Nurgianto. Indonesia, 2022.

Palm oil investment in South Halmahera, North Maluku, has intensified land conflicts between communities and companies. Uncertainty over land rights and unfair compensation have increased the potential for conflict. As a result, the sense of brotherhood between villagers that has long been maintained is divided.

Yani Mukmat (71), a resident of Gane Dalam Village, South Halmahera, North Maluku, could not hide his tears when telling the story of the action against oil palm plantations in 2013. He did not expect that the action carried out with hundreds of villagers at that time had brought him into contact with the police. He could not understand that his decision to take part in the action cost him a lot of energy and time.

"I was surprised that this one affair could be a long story," Yani told Barta in mid-May 2022.

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Yani is one of the women farmers in Gane Dalam Village, South Halmahera, who is keen to voice the rejection of the existence of oil palm plantations in mainland Halmahera. She is the only Gane female farmer who continues to voice the importance of maintaining coconut plantations for life.

She told the story of the 2013 action, which was initially a protest against the actions of a palm oil company that evicted a coconut plantation owned by one of the villagers without notice. The action at that time only involved blocking and boarding the company's excavator that was about to enter the coconut plantation. Dozens of villagers then blocked the plantation with a piece of wood.

Palm oil plantations in North Maluku. Image by Budi Nurgianto. Indonesia, 2022.