Under Article 108 of the law, anyone found guilty of clearing and/or cultivating land for plantation through slash-and-burn farming methods, as referred to in Article 56 Paragraph (1), could be sentenced to up to 10 years in jail and fined up to Rp10 billion, director of plantation protection at the Agriculture Ministry, Ardi Praptono, said here on Wednesday.
"We have prepared ourselves to overcome fires. In fact, the Agriculture Ministry is preparing firm sanctions, as referred to in plantation law number 39 of 2014," he said at a webinar discussion on the palm oil industry's preparations for land and forest fires amid the covid-19 pandemic.
As part of efforts to prevent land fires, the ministry has been disseminating information on existing regulations and encouraging non-slash-and-burn practices in the six provinces of Riau, Jambi, South Sumatra, Central Kalimantan, South Kalimantan, and East Kalimantan that are prone to land and forest fires, he said.
Another initiative for controlling land and forest fires has been the setting up of Kartabun Brigades and Farmer Groups Aware of Fire (KTPA), which currently comprise 3,181 people. As of 2019, 17 Kartabun Brigades with 1,051 personnel have been set up, while 142 KTPA with 2,130 members have been formed.
The ministry has allocated Rp4.55 billion this year to prevent land and forest fires. The figure is lower compared to the Rp12.1 billion set aside for the purpose earlier.
"Due to the covid-19 pandemic, we have made efficient use of the fund," Praptono said.
Meanwhile, chief of the land and forest fire prevention sub-directorate at the Environment and Forestry Ministry, Anis Susanti Aliati, said the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has predicted the dry season this year will peak between July and September, and that all stakeholders must remain alert for forest and land fires, particularly in the month of August. (antara)