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T/I: 10:39:45 Critics contend the Indonesian government's scheme to convert one million hectares of peat swamp forest into farmland was partly responsible for prolonging the fires that caused the haze that covered parts of Southeast Asia from August until this month. President Suharto launched the project last year to increase rice production. One parcel of land being developed under the project is located near the village of Dadahup on the River Mengatip in Central Kalimantan. People living in the region speak of "ribbons of fire" along the canals dug to drain the swamps which have dried out the forest and left the peat in the soil dry and highly combustible. But farmers like Pak Katamsi see the project as an opportunity. He moved to Central Kalimantan from the impoverished and overcrowded province of East Java eight months ago. He says he likes his new home because he has "more land and it's not flat like Java where there are hills." Katamsi and his neighbours are trying to produce their first rice crop in the once-forested area but many crops have already failed because of the drought and the acidic soil. Improving the soil is expensive - money has to be spent on drainage canals and chemicals. The project has also upset residents of nearby Dadahup. Many of them are indigenous Dayaks who earn their living by collecting forest products like rattan and selling it to make furniture. But the government does not recognise what they say are their traditional land rights and 160 families have had to give up their land for the project. SHOWS: DADAHUP, CENTRAL KALIMANTAN, INDONESIA. 16/11 burning of cleared trees; logs burning; tilt up fire to more fire; smouldering logs; cleared land for peat project; transmigration site houses; more of houses; woman on porch; man in field; pan from rice field to house; children on porch; house; devastation from land clearing for peat project; drainage canal for project; Mengkatip River; trees on river bank; canal building for peat project; river passing town; shop; people on river house; woman washing clothes; Pak Yetsi travelling upriver; Yetsi looking at his dried up land sot from Pak Yetsi: "Before we used to be able to sell rattan. Not anymore. Now it's all gone because of the PLG project in our district." (PLG stands for Proyek Lahan Gambut which means the giant peat project); rattan production on river bank; woman cleaning rattan; sot from Jeff Sayer, Director-General, Centre for International Forestry Research: "We think that people have underestimated the difficulty of developing sustainable agriculture on peat lands and they've definitely underestimated the environmental risks associated with peat land development. The problem is as soon as you develop these lands you have to drain them and the peat then either oxidises or catches fire." boat on Mengkatip River; more of boat on river 2.52 You can license this story through AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/metadata/youtube/bfba6253068fde51cfce35dbbeed0920 Find out more about AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/HowWeWork