Government’s oil palm policy is to continue developing oil palm in the midst of negative campaigns. “After I made a comparison, the benefit is 90%, while the negative side is only 10%. Therefore, we will continue to develop oil palm”, said Rismansyah Danusaputra, Director of Perennial Plant of Directorate General of Plantation, Agriculture Ministry.
From import duty alone, total fund collected has reached Rp 28 trillions, and it is attempted so that several trillions of it can be used to assist farmers. “We continue to coordinate with the Finance Ministry so that the total fund from import duty can be set aside for farmers development”, he said.
The urgent thing now is rejuvenation of smallholder plantation. State Budget (APBN) fund for rejuvenation is very limited, and could only access a few number of farmers, while those who must be rejuvenated is very expansive. “We must try so that rejuvenation will not be late. The problem is that not all farmers want to perform rejuvenation at the same time”, he said.
Development of oil palm plantation must be sustainable. The government sets a limit on development of size oil palm plantation only at 9 million hectares. “If we increase the size drastically, it will become target of negative campaign saying that oil palm harms the environment”, he said.
For large companies, the limitation on size of plantation area can be controlled by licensing mechanism. Oil palm licenses are limited. But, for self-supporting farmers, oil palm development cannot be limited”, he said.
“In accordance with Law on Plant Cultivation, we cannot prohibit farmers from planting oil palm. Currently, in South Sumatera, Riau and Jambi, oil palm is planted among paddy. In South Sumatera, I saw that the intercropping between paddy and oil palm causes the plants to grow properly”.
Development of prime oil palm seed is continuously performed by 11 oil palm seed is continuously preformed by 11 oil palm sprout companies. “The government is very grateful to private companies who have developed oil prime seeds. Development of new clones should be the responsibility of the government. The government is incapable of doing this, so it is performed by private parties”, he said.
Each company has a specialty. There is a company who produces ganoderma-resistant seeds, and another company who produces peat soil seeds, etc. The good quality oil palm seeds produced by Indonesian companies can be seen from Malaysian companies who made investment in Indonesia. “Formerly, they brought seeds from Malaysian, now they started to buy oil palm seeds from Indonesia. And, in the opening of a plantation in Serawak, the seeds are bought from Indonesia”.
Farmers’ awareness of oil palm planting is very high. Some of them have planted oil palm for 5-10 years and now they will cut their oil palm trees and receive prime seed assistance because their oil palm have not been producing qualified fruits due to the use of fake seeds.
Indonesia Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) audit has been conducted and there are 40 companies who are ready to obtain ISPO. So that cost for obtaining ISPO will be cheaper, the company is required to send an internal auditor to prepare everything that must be performed. This will be much cheaper and faster instead of hiring an external auditor.
ISPO principle and criteria for farmers, whether plasma or self-supporting farmers, will be complete this month. “ISPO has been recognized by overseas buyers, so if it is delayed, the implementation will cause difficulty to all oil palm business operators”, he said.
Business News - June 15, 2012