Agrar­ian re­form must ad­dress prob­lems in coastal ar­eas: LIPI

The Jakarta Post - - NATIONAL - Moses Om­pusunggu

The agrar­ian re­form pol­icy car­ried out by Pres­i­dent Joko “Jokowi” Wi­dodo’s ad­min­is­tra­tion had to also fo­cus on sea re­source man­age­ment in coastal ar­eas, a ma­rine ex­pert said in a pub­lic lec­ture on Thurs­day.

His big­gest weapon to tackle so­cio-eco­nomic in­equal­i­ties, Jokowi’s agrar­ian re­form pol­icy ba­si­cally re­volves around re­solv­ing land con­flicts and re­dis­tribut­ing land to small-scale farm­ers.

How­ever, Dedi Supri­adi Ad­huri, se­nior ma­rine re­searcher with the In­done­sian Sci­ence In­sti­tute (LIPI), ar­gued that com­pre­hen­sive agrar­ian re­form was not only meant to ad­dress prob­lems on land, be­cause the coun­try’s le­gal sys­tem in fact in­cludes the sea among agrar­ian re­sources.

The 1960 Agrar­ian Law, In­done­sia’s le­gal um­brella on agrar­ian pol­icy cre­ated by Sukarno’s ad­min­is­tra­tion, stip­u­lates nat­u­ral re­sources on land, in wa­ter and in the sky are agrar­ian re­sources that have to be har­nessed for the pros­per­ity of the pub­lic.

Ex­pand­ing the pol­icy to coastal ar­eas, Dedi said, would be the key to im­prov­ing the liveli­hood of small-scale fish­er­men, who he said had been ba­si­cally “ne­glected” in the de­ci­sion-mak­ing process by “au­thor­i­ties on the land.”

“We of­ten as­so­ciate fish­er­men with poverty. A study con­ducted by the BPS [Cen­tral Statis­tics Agency] finds that cit­i­zens liv­ing in coastal ar­eas con­trib­ute to around 25 per­cent of poverty in In­done­sia,” Dedi said in his lec­ture held at the LIPI in South Jakarta.

Fish­er­men in­deed play an im­por­tant role in food se­cu­rity, Dedi said, bas­ing this on the Mar­itime Af­fairs and Fish­eries Min­istry’s 2015 data show­ing that In­done­sian fish catches amounted to 6 mil­lion tons val­ued at Rp 108.5 tril­lion.

“Some 80 per­cent of the catches in 2015 sup­plied our do­mes­tic de­mand for fish,” Dedi said.

The key for the gov­ern­ment to im­prov­ing the liveli­hood of coastal peo­ple, Dedi said, was to im­ple­ment the ma­rine ten­ure sys­tem.

Ma­rine ten­ure is a set of rights and obli­ga­tions in ma­rine and coastal ar­eas that reg­u­lates which par­ties are al­lowed to har­ness which re­sources, the way to do it and who has the right to trans­fer to other par­ties.

“Like in other com­mon pool re­sources, the ten­ure sys­tem in ma­rine and coastal en­vi­ron­ments would de­cide whether the man­age­ment of re­sources would be suc­cess­ful or not,” Dedi said.

The role of ma­rine ten­ure can be found in coastal re­gions in which cit­i­zens are still bas­ing their ac­tiv­i­ties on cus­tom­ary rules, such as in Pa­pua, Maluku and Lom­bok in West Nusa Teng­gara, as well as in Aceh.

What sep­a­rated ma­rine ten­ure from land ten­ure, Dedi said, was that there were no boundaries stip­u­lated on pa­per, be­cause of the open­ness of wa­ter ar­eas.

“But lo­cals know how to mea­sure their fish­ing area. For in­stance, in Kei Is­lands [Maluku], indige­nous fish­er­men im­ple­ment a cus­tom­ary-based sea zon­ing reg­u­la­tion,” Dedi said.

The gov­ern­ment, Dedi said, had to em­body the ma­rine ten­ure prac­tice found in var­i­ous re­gions in In­done­sia, sug­gest­ing there had to be a re­view of fish­ery reg­u­la­tions to know whether they sup­ported or con­tra­dicted the lo­cal-based coastal area devel­op­ment.

Reza Shah Pahlevi, the direc­tor of fish­eries man­age­ment at the Fish­eries and Mar­itime Min­istry, said the gov­ern­ment had re­cently set up of­fices in each Fish­eries Man­age­ment Area (WPP) with a to­tal of 11 in the coun­try, through which lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties could par­tic­i­pate in the de­ci­sion-mak­ing process re­lated to coastal area man­age­ment.

“The gov­ern­ment ac­knowl­edges it has to use a col­lab­o­ra­tive ap­proach to im­prove fish­eries man­age­ment,” Reza said.

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