Melka selling off illegally-cleared forest land
03 July 2016
On 23 June, a public notice in the Jakarta Post in Indonesia set out plans by the Melka group to sell off the lands it controls in Ucayali region by public auction. As readers of the Newsletter will be aware, these properties have been the centre of widespread complaints about indiscriminate deforestation by Melka-related companies to clear the land for palm oil cultivation. The Peruvian government has ordered the suspension of these clearances.
Marcus Colchester, the senior advisor at the Forest Peoples Programme, says that “The proposed sale of these properties in Peru reflects the dark side of the palm oil sector whereby companies professing to uphold sustainability and business ‘best practice’, in line with RSPO and IFC standards, choose to sell off their properties when they are caught violating the standards or the law”. He points to various other cases, in Indonesia and elsewhere, in which companies challenged in this way simply divest their assets instead of seeking to remedy the problems they have caused on the ground.