The Palm Scribe

Fund injection for oil palm rejuvenation will leave a positive impact

JAKARTA – Players in the palm oil sector are optimistic that the productivity of oil palm plantations will increase nationally in line with the rising expanse of people’s plantation undergoing rejuvenation under a current government program.

ILLUSTRATION. Palm oil plantation in Papua. ILLUSTRATION. Palm oil plantation in Papua.

The head of the department of spacial planning and agrarian affairs at the Indonesian Association of Palm Oil Entrepreneurs (GAPKI), Eddy Martono, said that the planned injection of a total of Rp 5 trillion this year to allow the replantation of people’s oil palm plantations will not only have a positive impact on palm oil production among the smallholders but also at the national level.

“This is really good. It means that the replantation, in the future, will help so that our production is not as low as it is now,” Martono said as quoted by Bisnis on Monday (15/1/2018).

He said that in general just as with industrial oil palm plantation, those plantation managed independently by smallholders also need to be rejuvenated. However, smallholder often forge to earmark fundings to conduct these replanting and therefore, when the time come, and the crop are no longer productive, no replanting can be done.

Smallholder’s oil palm plantation also only reaches 120 trees per hectares compared to 136 trees per hectares in industrial plantations. Low productivity in smallholder’s plantation is also due to the choice of bad seeds and variants as well as cultivation methods and maintenance that leaves much to desire.

With the assistance provided by the government in replanting old plantation and those with low productivity level, the quality of seed used will improve and thus the crop will be able to produce more crude palm oil, Martono said.

“On average the average CPO production of smallholders will be able to reach four to five tons per hectares per year, compared to the current level of between 1.5 and two tons per hectare per year,” he said.

The fresh fruit bunch production of smallholder’s palm oil plantation at present only reaches about 15 to 18 tons per hectares per year. This is still far from the 30 tons per hectares per year that can be produced by corporate plantations, including those under plasm scheme.

“If it is well managed, people’s plantation will be able to produce some 25 tons per hectares per year,” Martono said.

The Rp 5 trillion in fund made available by the agriculture ministry for the replanting of people’s oil palm plantation this year is taken from the Palm Oil Fund levied from the export of palm oil. The fund is expected to be channeled to 75 districts in 20 priority provinces to cover a total of 185,000 hectares.

Farmers will receive Rp 25 million per hectares for the replanting, with each receiving an allotment of just one or two hectares for this year.

“Rp 25 million per hectare for 75 district. One farmers cannot own more than 4 hectares but for 2018, maybe just one or two hectares (per farmer) will be covered. Next year, the targeted total per farmer will be a maximum of four hectares,” Director General for Plantation at the Agriculture Ministry, Bambang said on Monday (15/1/2018).

If there are left over funds from the program, it would be used to replant more plantation, he added.

The agriculture ministry has said that from the some 4,7 million hectares owned and operated by smallholders, 2,4 million hectares needed to have their productivity raised through the replanting program.

Bambang said that last year, although the target was to replant 20,000 hectares, the year ended seeing 20,780 hectares of people’s oil palm plantation replanted.

“There is a facility to help farmers prepare for replanting. There are activities for that. The excess fund will be able maybe to add another 185,000 (hectares),” Bambang said.

Although the government has designated 20 provinces as priority areas for channeling the palm oil replanting funds, the opportunity remained open to other palm oil-producing provinces to also gain access to the fund, as long as their local government were ready for that.

“Therefore, this is our plan but if there are other regions which are ready earlier compared to other regions, we will accord this region a larger portion. Although there is a target, regions are welcome to compete with each other,” he said.

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