The Norwegian Ambassador to Indonesia, Stig Traavik, has said his government is ready to help Indonesia to develop peat land-friendly agriculture.
“Well help Indonesia in mastering how to cultivate plants without drying the peat lands, and how to increase the value added of the plants. There are some plants that can grow without drying the peat, such as sago,” Traavik said here on Tuesday.
He added that the Norwegian government will also help to market the commodities produced through peat-friendly agricultural practices.
The Ambassador said in principle, Norway is ready to support all efforts to prevent damage that land and forest fires cause.According to him, the important thing to prevent forest fires, especially in peat lands, is not to let the lands dry up.
“If the land becomes dry, then no technology in the world can cope with it. And if it burns, Indonesia will have a very big problem,” he explained.
Traavik said Norway strongly supports every effort to restore peatlands. According to him, land and forest fires occuring in Indonesia now have the attention of his country.
During his visit to Pekanbaru, the Norwegian Ambassador was accompanied by the Chairman of the Indonesian Peat Land Restoration Agency, Nazir Foead.
The Ambassador visited Rimbo Panjang village, which witnesses land and forest fires every year.
During the visit, the ambassador, the agency, as well as the representatives of the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry inaugurated 50 boreholes which serve to moisten the lands.
Earlier, in February 2016, the government of Norway had allocated a grant of US$50 million to help the peat lands restoration program in Indonesia. Meanwhile, the US government has also allocated a grant of $17 million.