The case of Kasepuhan Karang: Secure land rights lead to food security
A photoblog by Marjolein van Rijn
In 2016, the state forest around the community of Kasepuhan Karang, in Java, Indonesia, was transformed into customary lands. With these newly acquired land tenure rights, the community has started initiatives to use their land in a sustainable and inclusive way. What this means for the community in terms of livelihoods and food security, became clear during a field visit at the start of the Global Land Forum 2018.
Kasepuhan Karang community consists of various villages, located in a mountainous region in western Java, Indonesia. To the community of Kasepuhan Karang, 'forest' is more than only 'land covered by trees'; it also includes the fields and paddies in between the forest areas.
A sign next to the road says 'This forest is no longer a state forest'. In 2016, the community gained communal rights over the land surrounding their villages.
The community has set up a system to divide the customary land between the families, based upon a participatory mapping process. A certificate, the 'Risalah', gives a family user rights over a certain plot, but officially the whole land is owned by the community. Families can sell their user rights to other community members, but not to external parties.
There are certain rules that the community has set up to guarantee the sustainable use of their customary land. For example, the families are allowed to plant rice in their paddies, pick fruits and other products from the forested areas and occasionally fell a tree, but they are not allowed to cut down the whole forest or to start mining.
In order to increase the benefits of their customary land, the inhabitants of Kasepuhan Karang have planted 8.000 trees over the past years, mainly mangosteen, durian, coffee and mango trees. These investments in trees were only feasible for the farmers because of their security of land tenure.
A group of women in Kasepuhan Karang has set up a financial cooperative according to traditional rules. Families can get loans for investments in their land, like tree seedlings, vegetable seeds or equipment. They pay back with harvests from their land. Access to land through tenure security has contributed to productivity and therefore also means access to financial services, which are much needed for investments in land. (Photo by RMI Bogor)
The forest around Kasepuhan Karang is also a source of Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFP's), like these traditional rattan baskets. They are used to steam rice.
This beautiful place became an ecotourism site after the community gained their customary land rights in 2016. It is managed by a group of youth.
Youth used to have little prospects for a better future in Kasepuhan Karang. Now they manage the ecotourism site, rent rooms and camping equipment, organize walking tours to a nearby waterfall and sell locally produced coffee and other products to visitors.
The policy decision to transfer state tenure of the forest around Kasepuhan Karang into customary tenure of the land has enabled the community to take control over and sustainably manage their surroundings. The people make sustainable decisions that increase food security now and in the future.
For more information
Read more about this subject
Blog / 5 October 2018
By Marjolein van Rijn
From the first moment I arrive in Surabaya, I enter the rollercoaster called ECOTON. I'm visiting them to get to know the work of this long-time Both ENDS partner, and have only three days for this. But ECOTON does a lot, and all of it at the same time. Tirelessly, they work on the protection of the Brantas River.
Publication / 31 May 2018
News / 22 April 2013
Between 2010 and 2013, Both ENDS, within an alliance of Indonesian and Dutch organisations and universities, conducted a pilot project to improve the spatial planning in the district of Sanggau in West-Kalimantan, on the island of Borneo, Indonesia, to help local communities with the recognition of their land rights. We can show you a beautiful documentary about one of the villages in this district, Terusan.
Video / 18 November 2013
Between 2010 and 2013, Both ENDS, together with Indonesian and Dutch organisations and universities, conducted a project in the district of Sanggau in West-Kalimantan, on the island of Borneo, Indonesia. The project was meant to help local communities with the recognition of their land rights and. This is a beautiful short documentary about how the people of one of these villages responded to the ever expanding palm oil plantations around them.
Participatory Land Use Planning (PLUP) is a rights-based approach ensuring inclusive and gender-responsive land governance, especially for those whose rights to land are not fully acknowledged.
Blog / 18 December 2017
Bali: The disappearance of a fishermen’s village
GAGGA rallies the collective power of the women's rights and environmental justice movements to realize a world where women can and do access their rights to water, food security, and a clean, healthy and safe environment.
Event / 28 February 2019
This webinar will feature experiences from several grassroots initiatives and highlight how they fight for women's improved access to and control over land and other natural resources and to scale up women's land rights.
News / 26 October 2018
The sixth High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was held at the UN Headquarters in New York in July 2018. The HLPF provides an opportunity to review global progress towards achieving the SDGs and for countries to present their own Voluntary National Reviews of the implementation of the SDGs. At this year's HLPF, SDG 15, known as the 'Life on Land'-goal, was under review.
Blog / 29 January 2018
By Michael Rice
Pak Japin is a quiet, slim, and softly-spoken man from the village of Silat Hulu, West Kalimantan, Indonesia. I met him at a recent documentary screening in Bali on the fringe of the Round Table for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) annual conference, where he spoke about his community's nine year-long conflict with palm oil company Golden Agri Resources Ltd (GAR).
Video / 30 June 2017
Farmer in Kiungkang, West-Kalimantan, talks about the effects of the palm oil plantation around his village on food production and the health of the population.
The production of palm oil is causing social and environmental problems worldwide. Both ENDS is working to make the sector fairer and more sustainable and is promoting alternatives for palm oil.
News / 30 June 2017
In 2005, a palm oil company approached the villagers of Kiungkang in West-Kalimantan, Indonesia, with offers to convert their farms to oil palm smallholdings. Many farmers agreed to the proposal because of the high monthly incomes promised by the company that they could earn from the oil palms. Unfortunately, the palm oil dream turned out to be an illusion.
Press release / 21 April 2017
21 April 2017: Jakarta is sinking. Excessive groundwater extraction is causing the metropolis to sink by dozens of centimetres each year, making it more vulnerable to flooding. Dutch businesses have come up with a solution: an immense sea wall on the coast, which is also a stunning real estate project. But this intervention is just a pseudo-solution, say researchers from Both ENDS, Stichting Onderzoek Multinationale Ondernemingen (SOMO) and the Transnational Institute (TNI) today in a new report. Even worse, the project threatens the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people employed in local fisheries.
Publication / 15 August 2017
External link / 31 May 2018
November 2017. A delegation of the Dutch dredging company Van Oord listens to fishermen from communities around Suape harbour, Brazil. For the fishing communities, the meeting meant a long-awaited breakthrough in their efforts to have their grievances heard. Their fishing grounds have been damaged ever since Van Oord started deepening the sea access channel to the port seven years ago.
News / 24 October 2017
On 30 September 2017 Both ENDS submitted a position statement on the draft Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil National Action Plan. The draft National Action Plan purports to represent a blue print for improving the sustainability of the Indonesian palm oil industry. However, Both ENDS has significant concerns about the logic, rationale and purpose behind the draft National Action Plan and its legitimacy as a benchmark for a sustainable palm oil industry.
Publication / 21 April 2017
Publication / 21 April 2017
Video / 5 April 2016
Indonesia has many rivers, but clean water is increasingly scarce. To address the Indonesian water crisis, Both ENDS and 3 Indonesian civil society organisations initiated IndoWater Community of Practice. IndoWaterCoP is born out of concern that the implementation of Indonesian water resource management is failing. It aims to assist Indonesian government to improve its performance.