Last week the WWF conservation group accused coffee growers of clearing land in the Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park, a World Heritage Site in southern Sumatra, claiming that illegal coffee growing could make tigers, elephants and rhinos extinct in the area over the next ten years.
The group also said that over 19,600 tons of illegally grown coffee are blended with legally grown beans every year for sale to food and drink multinationals.
Yesterday, in an official statement, the Lampung provincial government denied the allegations, explaining that preventive measures have been taken against illegal land clearing in the protected forest.
‘The data issued by WWF was from 2003-2004, while the current condition is much better,’ the statement said. ‘Only a small part of the protected forest has been illegally cut down to grow coffee and other plants, but it has not been increasing.’
The provincial government has also asked the Indonesian Coffee Exporters Association not to buy coffee beans suspected of being grown within the national park’s boundaries.
Indonesia is the second-largest robusta coffee producing nation in the world after Vietnam, and the provinces of Lampung, South Sumatra and Bengkulu are responsible for 75% of Indonesia’s total coffee bean output.
The Jakarta Post