JAKARTA – The government of the North Bengkulu district in Bengkulu, is preparing to replant a total of 8,000 hectares of people’s palm oil plantation this year, the head of the district, Mian, (eds: one name) has said.

ILLUSTRATION. Workers are loading palm oil to vehicle. ILLUSTRATION. Workers are loading palm oil to vehicle.

“We have set the target to replant a total of 8,000 hectares of independent or plasm plantations this year. All our ranks in North Bengkulu are now even already preparing and the potential farmer candidates and the potential locations so that the target can soon realized,” Mian said on Friday, January 5, 2018 according to BeritaSatu.com.

“The replanting program will get funding from the Palm Oil Fund Management Board (BPDP Sawit),” he said.

Mian said that he is very serious in preparing the rejuvenation of the palm oil plantations considering that the crop was an important one for North Bengkulu. Mian said that there were now 36,861 hectares of smallholders’ palm oil plantation in the district.

However, productivity was still very low at around 1.18 ton of fresh fruit bunch per hectare per month. The yield per hectare per month was ideally at around 2 and 2,5 tons, he added.

The district chief blamed the low productivity on the use of low quality seedlings, with an estimated 40 percent of the14,475 palm oil plantation in the hands of smallholders using these low-quality seedlings.

“It is based on this that we are hoping the old palm oil, or those with low productivity because they came from low-quality seedlings, can be replaced by superior palm oil varieties,” he said.

The seedlings used in the replanting came from non-profit palm oil nurseries that are to prepare 1,040,000 seedlings in order to be able to replant the 8,000 hectares.

ILLUSTRATION. A bunch of palm oil seedlings. ILLUSTRATION. A bunch of palm oil seedlings.

Rusbandi, the Secretary General of the Association of Indonesian Cultivators of Plantation Crop Seedlings, is throwing his support for the district’s replanting drive. Rusbandi said that replanting will help increase Crude Palm Oil production nationwide amid the continuously growing demand for CPO every year, including to produce biofuels.

The Agriculture Ministry’s Director General for Plantation Bambang, said that the government was continuously expanding the surface of smallholders’ palm oil plantation to be replanted.

Based on his notes, he said that from the 11,9 million hectares of palm oil plantation in the country, 47 percent were those owned and operated by smallholders. A total of 2,4 million hectares of the smallholder plantations are still being run traditionally and were using low-quality, uncertified seedlings. The results are that they have low productivity, at only around 1 to 2 tons of crude palm oil per hectare.

Bambang said that if the replanting program can be implemented fast and simultaneously, the move can results in added productivity worth Rp 125 trillion per year. The figure is based on the assumption that all smallholders palm oil plantation have a productivity of at least 8 tons of CPO per hectare.

“Thus, every year we can get added productivity of Rp 125 trillion, meaning that replanting is equal to raising state revenues,” Bambang said.

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