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PTPN XIII conflict, Kalimantan, Indonesia


Oil palm is today the fastest growing monoculture in the tropics. Indonesia is the world's largest producer. The country has witnessed a massive conversion of customary (adat) land to oil palm (and fast-wood) plantations. Between 1967 and 2007, oil palm monocultures have increased about 50 times and the government is planning to expand the area under plantation.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:PTPN XIII conflict, Kalimantan, Indonesia
State or province:West Kalimantan
Location of conflict:sub-district of Parindu
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:Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Palm oil
Project Details and Actors
Project details

PT Perkebunan Nusantara (PTPN) XIII is a merger of a number of state plantation companies in Kalimantan including PTP VI, PTP VII, PTP XII, PTP XIII, PTP XVIII, PTP XXVI, PTP XXIV-XXV and PTP XXIX. PTPN XIII has plantations totaling 124,429.66 hectares including oil palm plantations making up 43,988.60 hectares, rubber plantations making up 14,898.97 hectares and sugarcane plantations 3,448 hectares. PTPN XIII manages estates owned by plasma farmers totaling 87,137.62 hectares growing oil palm trees over 35,546.68 hectares, rubber trees over 46,342.94 hectares and sugar cane 5,248 hectares. [1]

Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:2000
Company names or state enterprises:PT Perkebunan Nusantara XIII (PTPN XIII) from Indonesia
Relevant government actors:State-owned plantation company
International and Finance InstitutionsThe World Bank (WB) from United States of America
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:West Kalimantan's Indigenous Peoples' Alliance (AMA Kalbar)
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Forms of mobilization:Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity)
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Land dispossession
Potential: Loss of livelihood, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..)
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Negotiated alternative solution
Development of alternatives:In the face of the persistent protests, the government finally changed its policy by carrying out an oil palm plantations project exclusively for local community smallholders (with no transmigrants). Yet the damage had been done and the bad relationship between the government (including PTPN XIII) and local communities persists.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The protesters could not prevent the replacement of traditional agro-ecosystems by the industrial oil palm plantation. The recent court case is a victory for local villagers but does not have a clear environmental content.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Colchester, M., N. Jiwan, Andiko, M. Sirait, A. Yunan Firdaus, A. Surambo and H. Pane, 2006. Promised land – palm oil and land acquisition in Indonesia. Moreton-in-Marsh: Forest Peoples Programme; Bogor: SawitWatch.
[click to view]

The gendered politics of dispossession: oil palm expansion in a Dayak Hibun community in West Kalimantan, Indonesia by Julia and Ben White
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Profiles of State-owned rubber plantation companies
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Meta information
Contributor:J.-F. Gerber
Last update26/05/2014
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