On 20 April 2020, WALHI Jambi published a statement alleging that APP used drones to spray herbicide on community plantations, threatening the community’s food safety. They further allege that APP uses such methods to pressure indigenous communities as part of its conflict resolution process. These allegations are gross misrepresentations of the facts on the ground.
While APP does use drones to deliver herbicide as part of regular silviculture practice in its own plantations, care is taken to protect health and safety. These include spraying at low altitude (2-3m above ground) and in wind-safe conditions (winds at less than 3m/s). Drones also maintain a buffer zone of 20m from the outer border of the concession, to prevent herbicide from reaching outside the concession boundary.
The specific incident highlighted by WALHI Jambi has actually been investigated and resolved through mediation. Here are the facts:
- At mediation, all parties, including the community representative, acknowledged that the area affected was outside the agreed boundaries of the area set aside for community livelihood.
- The community representative also acknowledged that around 10 to 15, one-month-old oil palm plants were affected by drone activity. This is contrary to allegations that up to 2ha of community plants were affected, directly affecting food security.
- The issue has been resolved through mediation, and the parties have accepted the mediated outcome.
It should be noted that WALHI Jambi were present at the mediation process and possess full knowledge of these facts. It is disappointing that they would then twist the truth just to accommodate their preferred narrative.
APP continues to engage directly with the local community group in Jambi to render assistance and maintain a healthy and constructive relationship. Community concerns are always taken very seriously.
We have always been open to constructive feedback and engagement with interested stakeholders. Where there are differences of opinion or disputes, we are open to involving credible and committed third parties to join the mediation process, so that we can arrive at a fair and equitable resolution.
At APP, we recognize our responsibility to the rural and forest communities that live and work in and around the boundaries of our supplier concessions. Forest communities and indigenous peoples are vital partners in many areas, including the prevention and suppression of wildfires, the protection of conservation forests, and in the fight against illegal encroachment.
We regularly update our stakeholders through an annual Stakeholders Advisory Forum on the progress of APP’s sustainability implementation and the challenges. For previous reports, please refer to https://asiapulppaper.com/sustainability.