The MIFEE project, or the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate to give it its full name, is an agricultural mega-project proposed for Papua province in Indonesia. It was dreamed up as a response to the food and fuel price crises of 2008 and to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s appeal to “feed Indonesia, then feed the world”.
Last month a detailed information pack was produced about the MIFEE project, with a website: “Awas MIFEE: Tracking the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate”. The report and the website were produced anonymously, “to provide a tool for action or campaigning around MIFEE (or for that matter, the other topics it encompasses such as food sovereignty, agrofuels, the rights of indigenous communities or the Papuan people’s struggle.)”
When it was launched in 2010, the MIFEE project was estimated to cover a total of 1.28 million hectares. The project area is largely forested and would involve the dispossession of thousands of people’s ancestral lands. While it would employ hundreds of thousands of workers, many of these would move into the area from elsewhere in Indonesia.
The MIFEE project is happening in parallel to REDD. While REDD is big news in Indonesia, it seems that there is no REDD mechanism by which REDD proponents can use REDD to prevent the forest destruction caused by MIFEE and similar projects.
The introduction to the information pack explains how the information is structured:
The first part gives some background information about the people and ecology of the Merauke region, as well as the political context of West Papua. This is followed by an in-depth look at the MIFEE project, including a critique of the rational behind it, a description of how the project has developed and testimony from affected villages throughout the area. In part three, consideration is given to some other important aspects of MIFEE, the impact of a population flow into West Papua and how the food estate model could affect farmers throughout Indonesia. Finally, profiles are given of many of the companies which are thought to be involved in Merauke. The profiles include first attempts at tracing links with these companies’ activities globally, in the hope that these companies can also be held to account in other countries for their activities in Merauke.