By Almo Pradana
from Jakarta

WRI planned to visit Balak village on Meranti Island to listen to community members’ experiences with attempting to cultivate sago in peatland. Unfortunately, infrastructure en route to the village was in very poor condition.

At the end of April 2017, the WRI team conducted a site visit to Meranti Island in Riau. The purpose of the visit to Balak village was to talk to community members about their attempts to utilize peatland to cultivate sago. Regrettably, we discovered infrastructure that had been damaged prior to our arrival along the road, which is used for transport of illegal logging products to the city.

On the road to Balak village, we saw a lot of dry peatland with canal blocks that were being cleared for plantation use. It was raining and getting dark, and the engine of the motorcycle we were traveling on kept cutting out because of the road condition and high water level. Finally, we decided to return to town. We plan to head back to the village soon to talk to the villagers about peatland cultivation and ensure that peat restoration will continue on Meranti.

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