REA Kaltim, oil palm plantations in East Kalimantan, Indonesia

Ongoing land conflicts in PT REA Kaltim oil palm Plantations since its establishment in 1991.


Land conflicts in Kutai resulted from indiscriminate allocation of land to private companies for oil palm plantations on the 90s given that local communities rights were not recognized under national laws.

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Basic Data
NameREA Kaltim, oil palm plantations in East Kalimantan, Indonesia
ProvinceEast Kalimantan
SiteKembang Janggut
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Land acquisition conflicts
Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Specific CommoditiesWater
Palm oil
Project Details and Actors
Project Details1,2 million ha of land are allocated for palm oil plantations in East Kalimantan. The expansion has been accelerated since 2005, increasing the total area of plantations by 30% during 2005-2012.

In addition, 4,7 million ha are projected for conversion into palm oil plantations by 2015. There are 330 companies active in the area that control large-scale oil palm plantations.

In Kutai, 123,673 were covered by palm oil plantations in 2010 (109,188 ha operated by private companies).

Many negative environmental and social consequences have arisen as a result of poorly regulated expansion: 300,000 ha/year deforestation rate, water and air pollution, land conflicts...

PT REA Kaltim Plantations belong to REA Holding’s, which became an RSPO member in 2007. PT REA Kaltim Plantations received RSPO certification in 2011.

PT REA Kaltim Plantations is composed of two mills and six states. There are nine villages in the area of the plantation, while 20% of the concession is considered Conservation area. Local communities are allowed to enter areas of Conservation and do limited hunting and planting.

REA Holdings is also developing an open coast coal mine in a nearby area [1].
Project Area (in hectares)37,084
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population620,000
Start Date01/01/1994
Company Names or State EnterprisesPT REA Kaltim Plantations from Indonesia
REA Holdings PLC from United Kingdom
Relevant government actorsPlantations Office of East Kalimantan

Kukar National Land Agency

Forestry and Plantations Office

Local Parliament

Land Adquisition Committe (East Kalimantan)
International and Financial InstitutionsRoundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) (RSPO)
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersForest People’s Programme

Sawit Watch

TuK Indonesia
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingIndigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Global warming
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Militarization and increased police presence, Land dispossession
Potential: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCompensation
Land demarcation
Development of AlternativesThe communities demand [1]:

-Realization of plasma schemes (cooperative programmes introduced by the Indonesian government to enable smallholders to become independent oil palm growers. The small farmers produce for large agribusinesses and receive assistance in the form of loans, knowledge, etc. in exchange)

-The equal treatment of all the villages within the concession

-Compensation for land lost in early 90s

-Active information-sharing channels between company and communities

-Training for communities on their legal rights, RSPO standards and right to FPIC

-Greater transparency by the company

-Participatory mapping of customary lands and concession boundaries

-Provision of relevant documents to community mebers

-Development of regional bylaw recognizing and protecting customary rights to land

-Government action to resolve ongoing land disputes
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.Some mechanisms of conflict resolution has been put in place and participatory mapping has been undertaken as a response to protests

Yet, many demands from the communities are still unfulfilled and information is not fully communicated
Sources and Materials

[1] Chao, et al., 2013. “PT Rea Kaltim Plantations and the Dayak and Kutai peoples of Kutai Kartanegara and Tabang, East Kalimantan” In: Consent or conflict? The oil palm at a crossroads. Ch5
[click to view]


[3] RSPO Case Tracker "PT Rea Kaltim plantations"
[click to view]

[2] “Sustainable palm oil: Marketing or true commitment?”
[click to view]

"13 Warga Kembang Janggut Ditangkap" by Koran Kaltim (online newspaper)
[click to view]

Other Documents

Detention of local residents who blocked part of the plantation at PT REA Kaltim Plantations Source: Koran Kaltim
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorClàudia Custòdio
Last update17/04/2017