West Papuans reject oil palm plans for 'mother' forest

A group of NGOs is urging the Indonesian government not to permit any more oil palm plantations in West Papua.

The government has announced its intention to plant more oil palm plantations and has set its sights on millions of hectares of rainforest in West Papua.

Destroying rainforest to make way for oil palm has disastrous consequences for Papuan communities, said the group of NGOs' Executive Secretary, Septer Manufandu, based in West Papua's largest town Jayapura.

'Oil palm companies destroy the forest. Papuans respect the forest. Forest is the mother. The forest can give everything they want: food, water, vegetables, everything,' Mr Manufandu said.

The cry from the NGOs comes just as the interest of potential investors in oil palm in Papua is reported to be on the increase.