Indonesia halts new palm oil plantation development | 9/20/2018 | Staff
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Indonesia's president has signed a moratorium on all new palm oil plantation development, an official said Thursday, in a move hailed by environmentalists.

The moratorium effectively halts any new land being made available for plantations in the world's top producer of the edible vegetable oil, a key ingredient in many everyday goods, from biscuits to shampoo and make-up.

President - Joko - Widodo - Instruction - Years

President Joko Widodo signed the instruction, which will last three years, on Wednesday, Prabianto Mukti Wibowo, a deputy minister at the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs, told AFP.

"(The moratorium) is to improve the governance of sustainable palm oil plantations, provide legal certainty, increase the productivity of smallholder palm oil plantations, maintain environmental sustainability and contribute to the reduction in greenhouse gases," he told AFP in a WhatsApp message.

Plantations - Sumatra - Island - Papua - Part

Plantations on Sumatra island, Papua and the Indonesian part of Borneo have expanded in recent years as demand for palm oil has skyrocketed, bringing huge profits to companies and healthy tax revenues to the government.

But the rapid growth has been blamed for the destruction of tropical forests that are home to many endangered species, and forest fires that occur every year during the dry season due to illegal slash-and-burn clearance.

Forum - Environment - Walhi - Moratorium

The Indonesian Forum for the Environment, Walhi, welcomed the moratorium.

"The presidential instruction...
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