Medan – Stakeholders in the Indonesian Palm Oil sector, are calling for joint efforts to counter the mounting attacks against palm oil, here and abroad, but also pointed out that working to assure the sustainability of the sector was one of the ways.
Director General of Plantation at the Ministry of Agriculture, Bambang M.M. officially opens the second Indonesia Palm Oil Stakeholders (IPOS) Forum in Medan, North Sumatra, on September 28, 2017, saying that sustainability was now a must for the palm oil sector to continue to contribute substantially to the economy and the prosperity of the nation.
Opening the 2nd Indonesian Palm Oil Stakeholder Forum 2017 in Medan, North Sumatra, Director General of Plantation, Bambang MM said that the development of Indonesia’s Palm Oil plantation at present has shown “extraordinary achievements.”
“However, I have to say that at present, palm oil is in a dangerous condition. If we do not engage in big changes, the negative issues that are coming from both overseas and from inside the country will continue to roll,” Bambang said.
All stakeholders in the palm oil sector needed to work together and make sure that everything in the sector meets the accepted principles and best practices if the country is to be able to establish the Indonesian primacy of palm oil, he said.
Mona Surya, Deputy chairperson of the Indonesian Association of Pam Oil Producers (GAPKI) also launched a call for all “ to unite in countering those issues that are not conducive.”
Surya stressed the significant contribution of Palm oil to the Indonesian economy and said it was imperative that the country work to assure the sustainability of palm oil if this contribution was to continue. She said that at the very least, the government’s drive to make mandatory the Indonesia Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) certification be applicable to all stakeholders in the palm oil sector.
“ISPO is mandatory for all players in palm oil plantation, and all have the obligation to support this,” Surya said referring to the certification sanctioned and promoted by the Indonesian government.
Bambang said that palm oil plantation, according to official data, stood now at 11.9 million hectares, with a total production of 33.2 million tons a year.
Palm oil also contributed Rp 239.4 trillion to the 2016 Gross Domestic Product and involved 82.5 million workers.
“But there are many sides who do not want Indonesia’s palm oil to become successful,” he said.
These attacks, however, should be taken as inputs for “us to conduct an introspection and to continue to put order “ in the sector, he said. “It should not be that we become obsessed with trying to overcome the smear campaign against Indonesia but we forget to put ourself in order, ” Bambang said.
Bambang said that from more than 100,000 companies in the palm oil sector, only 551,000 had already registered for ISPO certification but only 306 had obtained the certification. These 306 certified ISPO companies accounted for 1.8 million hectares, insignificant compared to the total of 11.9 million hectares.
“ISPO is the commitment of Indonesian palm oil plantation to show that palm oil in Indonesia is produced in full compliance (of sustainability rules and principles) and with a good management,” Bambang said.
He added that although official figures put the coverage of palm oil plantation at 11.9 million hectares, the actual figure was likely to reach more than 15 million hectares as there was still many plantations that were not registered or even did not have cultivation rights titles (HGU) required from a plantation.
He also pointed out that from some 4.7 million hectares of smallholder palm oil plantations, 1.7 were overlapping with protected areas. The figure for large plantation is estimated to be at around 3.3 million hectares.
“How do we want the negative campaign to stop if we still have plantations overlapping with protected areas?” Bambang said.
The one-day forum, that heard its opening prayers also implore for the country to be given the strength to overcome “challenges and attacks” will be followed on September 29 with onsite visits to palm oil plantations and production sites.