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Haze disrupts oil palm production in Riau PEKANBARU, RIAU - Haze from the ongoing forest fires in the Riau province had disrupted the harvest of oil palm fruits, a local farmer Rohim, 57 years old, said here on Friday. "The thick haze makes it hard for farmers to see the palm fruits that are ready to be harvested," Rohim noted.

According to him, the local farmers had financially benefited from the harvest of oil palm fruits because big companies were willing to pay high prices for good quality fruits.

However, the situation changed once haze appeared in Riau because farmers were facing difficulty in differentiating the ready-to-harvest fruits and the ones that were still not ripe enough to be harvested. Riau is considered as the biggest oil palm producer in Indonesia and the world.

Previously, the chief of the Riau Haze Emergency Response Task Force, Brigadier General Prihadi Agus Irianto, said the fires had scorched a total of 13,009 hectares of forest and plantation areas in Riau over the past six weeks.

The task force had managed to extinguish fires on 10,618 hectares of forest, plantations, and peatland areas, but most of the areas still produced smog.

Of the 11,138 hectares of forest area that were razed by fires across the Riau province, about 3,000 hectares were located inside the GSK-BB biosphere reserve, Brigadier General Prihadi Agus Irianto said.

The chief of the Riau forest office, Zulkifli Yusuf, recently said the biosphere reserve is now badly damaged due to human encroachment and fires.

When visiting the biosphere reserve on Wednesday, March 5, the Forestry Minister Zulkifli Hasan stated that 2,000 newcomers had encroached and set fires in the GSK-BB biosphere reserve.

"Currently, about 2,000 people hailing from the North Sumatra province have encroached in the biosphere reserve in the Riau province. They have cleared the forest area for oil palm plantation," Minister Zulkifli said at the Roesmin Nurjadin air force base in Pekanbaru.

The encroachment occurred in the biosphere reserves Core zone. "We strongly suspect that they were deliberately sent to Riau to encroach in the biosphere reserve," he said.

The task force, which has a total of 325 members, including 170 army officers, is trying to extinguish at least 12 hotspots detected in the biosphere reserve by dropping water bombs from four helicopters, including those belonging to Sinar Mas.


Related blog entries (category 'Forest fires') Related blog entries (category 'Forest fires'):
13 March 2014 · Minister expects immediate haze pollution ratification
07 March 2014 · Police hunting down four suspects in Riau`s land fires
07 March 2014 · Victims due to haze to receive compensation
28 February 2014 · Official: 'Haze-affected people in Padang to get free masks'
28 February 2014 · Almost all Sumatran forest fires deliberately set
24 February 2014 · Riau forst fire hot spot multiplied 150 times

Related blog entries (category 'Forest fires') Tags: forest, fire, water, bombing, haze


Posted in Forest fires @ 14 March 2014 16:30 CET by Blog Bot · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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