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Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE), Papua, Indonesia

The development of the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE) started in 2011. It is a 2.5 million ha mega project striving to increase Indonesian self-sufficiency in food and energy, but has been referred to as a 'textbook landgrab'.


Merauke Regency is located in the south-eastern part of Indonesian Papua, in a region ecologically characterised by flat forest, savannah and swamp land. Papua is home to the third largest tropical forest in the world and after the Amazon and the Congo Basin. The region is traditionally inhabited by a big number of indigenous groups, the biggest one being the Malind people (1, 2).  The Merauke region has long been seen by the state as having good potential for productive large-scale plantation agriculture (2, 3). The initiative to the establishment of the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE) was taken by former president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, and the estate has been further endorsed by current president Jokowi. The project was initiated in 2011, in line with the Presidential Regulation No 32/2011 regarding the ‘acceleration and expansion of the economic development of Indonesia, 2011–25’ (2, 3, 4). Merauke has been referred to as the 'future breadbasket of Indonesia' and the MIFEE aims to increase national self-sufficiency in food-crops such as rice, corn and sugar and thereby reduce the dependency on food imports. However, as of 2014, a large part of the concessions granted were for crops to be exported (5, 6).  The department of agriculture decided to allocate 1.6 million hectares to MIFEE, an area that did not only include agricultural land, but also primary and protected forests, residential areas and indigenous settlements (3). More recent sources claim the estate to have reached around 2.5 million hectares, occupying land belonging to 160 villages in Merauke (6, 7).  As a result of high labour demand at the plantations, an influx of 2-4 million migrants are expected to the region, which has actualized the discussion on genocide (7, 8). Prior to its establishment, the region was by the government referred to as 'unproductive and sparsely populated' (6). As such, negotiations concerning the design of MIFEE included only the central and regency governments without seeking consent from the local population (3).  Today around 80 companies operate in the estate and MIFEE has been referred to as a 'textbook landgrab' (5). Activists and opponents claim the government to be using the argument of food security to justify domestic and foreign investments in the region, as well as its prioritisation of those over the rights of the Malind people to its customary territory (2).  Forest Peoples Programme in a joint effort with 26 Indonesian organisations have repeatedly submitted a 'Request for Consideration of the Situation of Indigenous People in Merauke' to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) (7, 9). As a response to one of those, submitted in 2011, the Committee referred to an earlier letter sent by CERD to the Indonesian government, dated 28 September 2009, where it urged the Indonesian government to take actions toward ensuring the rights of the country's indigenous peoples (10). However, no measures seem to be taken by the government, and rapporteurs have been denied to enter the area (5). 

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE), Papua, Indonesia
State or province:Papua
Location of conflict:Kabupaten Merauke
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Intensive food production (monoculture and livestock)
Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Sugar
Palm oil
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The MIFEE comprises an area of around 2.5 million ha and its stated purpose is to produce commodities such as timber, palm oil, corn, soybean, rice and sugar cane to decrease the Indonesian dependency of food and fuel imports.

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Project area: 2,500,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:50,000+
Start of the conflict:2010
Company names or state enterprises:PT Kertas Nusantara Tbk from Indonesia - 154943 ha of industrial forest
PT Dongin Prabhawa from Republic of Korea - 39800 ha of oil palm
PT Balikpapan Forest Indo (BFI) from Indonesia - 40000 ha of industrial forest
PT Papua Agro Lestari (PAL) from Republic of Korea - 39000 ha of oil palm
Korindo Group from Republic of Korea
PT Berkat Citra Abadi (BCA ) - 40000 ha of oil palm
PT Inocin Kalimantan from Republic of Korea - 45000 ha of industrial forest
PT Bio Inti Agrindo (PT BIA) from Republic of Korea - 39000 ha of oil palm
Pt Ulilin Agro Lestari from Republic of Korea - 30000 ha of oil palm
PT Agrinusa Persada Mulia (APM) from Indonesia - 40000 ha of oil palm
Daewoo International from Republic of Korea
PT Selaras Inti Semesta (SIS) from Indonesia - 301600 ha of oil palm
Medco Group from Indonesia
PT Modern Internasional from Indonesia
PT Plasma Nutfah Malind Papua from Republic of Korea - 67736 ha of industrial forest
PT Hardaya Sugar Papua - 44812 ha of sugar cane
PT Hardaya Sawit Papua - 62150 ha of oil palm
PT Indosawit Lestari from Republic of Korea - 14000 ha of oil palm
PT Bangun Cipta Sarana from Indonesia - 14000 of food crops
PT Digul Agro Lestari - 4000 ha of corn
PT Muting Jaya Lestari from Indonesia - 43000 ha of corn (unclear whether the company is still active within MIFEE)
Moorim Paper Co Ltd from Republic of Korea
PT Cenderawasih Jaya Mandiri from Indonesia - 40000 ha of sugar cane
PT Rajawali Corporation from Indonesia
PT Energi Hijau Kencana from Indonesia - 90225 ha of industrial forest
Pt Wanamulia Sukses Sejati from Indonesia - 122100 ha of industrial forestry and 3000 ha of maize
PT Sumber Alam Sutera from Indonesia - 15000 ha of rice
Artha Graha Network (AG Network) from Indonesia
Pt Karya Bumi Papua from Indonesia - 30000 ha of oil palm
PT Medco Papua Industri Lestari from Indonesia - 2800 ha of wood plantations (+processing)
PT Kharisma Agri Pratama - 40000 ha of sugar cane
PT Agri Surya Agung from Indonesia - 40000 ha of food crops
PT Nusantara Agri Resources from Indonesia - 40000 ha of sugar cane
PT Mega Surya Agung from Indonesia - 24697 ha of oil palm
PT Central Cipta Murdaya from Indonesia - 31000 ha of oil palm
Agro Mandiri Semesta Plantations (Ganda Group) from Indonesia
Wilmar International from Singapore
PT Agriprima Cipta Persada from Indonesia - 33540 ha of oil palm
PT Anugrah Rejeki Nusantara (ARN) from Indonesia - 200000 ha of sugar cane
PT Medco Papua Alam Lestari from Indonesia - 74219 ha
PT Tebu Wahana Kreasi from Indonesia - 20282 ha of sugar cane
PT Papua Daya Bio Energy from Indonesia
PT Anugerah Rejeki Nusantara (ARN) from Singapore
PT Energi Mitra Merauke from Indonesia - 40000 ha
Relevant government actors:Government of Indonesia
Merauke Regency Government
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Solidaritas Rakyat Papua Tolak MIFEE (SORPATOM)
Perkumpulan Untuk Pembaharuan Hukum Berbasis Masyarakat dan
Ekologis [Association for Community and Ecologically-based Legal Reform] (HuMA)
Keuskupan Agung Merauke/Sekretariat Keadilan dan Perdamaian (SKP
Civil Society Coalition Against MIFEE, Masyarakat Sipil Tolak MIFEE
Yayasan Santo Antonius (Yasanto, Merauke)
Forum Kerjasama Lembaga Swadaya Masyarakat
Papua [Papua NGOs Forum] (FOKER LSM)
Aliansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara [Indigenous People Alliance of the Archipelago] (AMAN)
KOMALI (Komunitas Masyarakat Adat dan Lingkungan)
WALHI (Friends of The Earth Indonesia)
Green Peace Indonesia
Down to Earth
Watch Indonesia
Forest Peoples Programme
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Forms of mobilization:Boycotts of official procedures/non-participation in official processes
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Property damage/arson
Submission of 'Request for Consideration of the Situation of Indigenous People in Merauke' to CERD
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Global warming, Soil contamination, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsVisible: Malnutrition
Potential: Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..)
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Other socio-economic impacts
Other socio-economic impactsLarge influx of migrants
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Violent targeting of activists
Application of existing regulations
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The MIFEE is still in operation without modifications to its design.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

(8) Ito, T., Rachman, N.F., Savitri, L.A., (2011). Naturalizing Land Dispossession: A Policy Discourse Analysis of the Merauke Integrated
[click to view]

(4) Indrawan, M., Caldecott, J. & Ermanyanti (2016). Mitigating Tensions over Land Conversion in Papua, Indonesia
[click to view]

(3) King, P., Elmslie, J., Webb-Gannon, C. (2011). Comprehending West Papua
[click to view]

(10) UN CERD (2011). UN CERD formal communication to the Permanent Mission of Indonesia regarding allegations of threatening and imminent irreparable harm for indigenous peoples in Merauke District related to the MIFEE project
[click to view]

(6) GRAIN & AwasMIFEE (2015). Relaunching destruction in Papua: monoculture agriculture project threatens indigenous lands and livelihoods
[click to view]

(9) FPP (2013). Request for Further Consideration of the Situation of the Indigenous Peoples of Merauke, Papua Province, Indonesia, under the UN CERD's Urgent Action and Early Warning Procedures. 25 July 2013.
[click to view]

(12) AwasMIFEE!, (2018). Home
[click to view]

(1) Faith-based Network on West Papua (FBN) (2011). Human Rights in Papua 2010/2011
[click to view]

(2) AwasMIFEE! (2012). An Agribusiness Attack in West Papua: unravelling the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate
[click to view]

(7) REDD-Monitor (2013). MIFEEs Massive Seuizure of Indigenous Lands is Causing Starvation and Poverty in Papua
[click to view]

(11) AwasMIFEE!, (2017). Statement from Merauke Human Rights Day Demonstration
[click to view]

(5) Ginting, L. & Pye, O. (2013). Resisting Agribusiness Development: The Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate in West Papua, Indonesi
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Mama Malind su Hilang, Documentary produced by Gekko Studio, Pusaka & SKP KAME
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Emmy Iwarsson (ICTA-UAB)
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:3475
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