Indonesia: Sago forest in Papua needs preservation

Antara 31 Jan 16;

Sorong, West Papua (ANTARA News) - Sago forest in Papua needs to be preserved in a sustainable manner because it is a food reserve for the local community, according to West Papua environmentalist Benny Yesnat.

"Sago is the staple food of the indigenous people of Papua since time immemorial. Even without rice, the Papuan people can consume sago for survival," said Benny Yesnat in Sorong on Sunday.

Therefore, he called on the people of Papua to preserve sago forest, and do not destroy it for agriculture and other development interests.

"Sago forests should not be burned to clear land for plantations, especially oil palm plantations which can only damage the humus, the substance made from dead leaves and plants for soil fertility," Yesnat noted.

According to him, sago plants not only serve as food reserve, but also protect the water source for the life of Papuan community in general.

Therefore, he added that the indigenous people of Papua and West Papua must maintain this local wisdom for generations in the future.

He affirmed that sago many benefits to peoples lives. Besides serving as food reserve, sago leaves can be used as the roof of traditional houses.

Further, he expressed hope that the indigenous people of Papua can unite to reject irresponsible parties who want to turn sago forests into oil palm plantation.(*)

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