The Palm Scribe

GAPKI: 4 Steps to Strengthen Palm Oil Industry

A senior executive of the Indonesian Palm Oil Producers Association (GAPKI), is saying that it was now high time for the government to focus on plantations, including of palm oil, and spelled out four steps it could take to strengthen the palm oil sector.

GAPKI Executive Director Danang Girindrawardana, was quoted in a report carried on the association’s website, as saying that it was now time for the government to talk about the plantation sector “and not talk anymore on the manufacture, banking, and others.”

He said that the government needed to accord its attention on overcoming the challenges facing the plantation sector and more specifically, the palm oil plantation sector.

He said that the palm oil sector was facing the challenge of sustainability, productivity gap, smallholder management and its downstream industry.

Girindrawardana who was said in the report to have been talking to Republika Daily spelled out the steps to take to overcome the challenges.

The first was for the government to balance its sustainability to cover three components — the people, profit and the planet. Girindrawardana said that the sustainability issue at present was heavy on the environment side and ignored the human aspect, meaning that it was equally important to give attention to the human aspect and its economy.

“We must not think of the state as merely being a forest while its inhabitants are poor,” he said.

Responding to the accusation of rapid deforestation in Indonesia, Girindrawardana said that Indonesia’s forest coverage was still at 52 percent, or much higher compared to Britain which had only 13 percent of its forest left, or France with 31 percent.

The second was to work to improve the productivity of palm oil plantations, both of smallholders and of corporations. The third was to intervene through policies in the management of smallholders. Fourth, to provide incentive policies for the development of the downstream industry.

“For palm oil, only one policy injection is needed,” Girindrawardana said. He added that the four steps should be included in the next special economic package to be released by the government. The Indonesian government has so far already released 16 such special economic packages.

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