The issuance of Presidential Instruction No. 8/2018 regarding the moratorium on permits for oil palm plantations was warmly welcomed by environmental activists, with a note that more improvements are still needed.
“We truly welcome the instruction! It’s good but there are still a lot of lacks,” Greenpeace Indonesia Global Forest Campaign Head Kiki Taufik told The Palm Scribe.
According to Taufik, despite the good substance, the presidential instruction cannot be used as the final solution to the problem of the palm oil industry.
He mentioned several weaknesses and cheatings from the legal product, including its non-permanent nature and the absence of a binding guarantee of continued instruction implementation subsequently.
“This freeze is temporary, there is no guarantee in the future,” said Taufik.
The absence of sanctions that can guarantee the continuity of the regulation also makes it vulnerable to being loosened, moreover, according to Taufik, violations have often occurred in the palm oil industry so far.
A release received by The Palm Scribe from Greenpeace revealed two things that showed the weaknesses of this presidential instruction.
First, the moratorium does not prevent the allocation of new concessions to millions of hectares of natural forests controlled by the Government.
Second, it does not prevent the practice of deforestation in the peatlands within the oil palm company concession area either.
The Oil Palm Smallholders Union (SPKS) also supports a moratorium on permits for a new palm oil plantation.
In the SPKS release received by The Palm Scribe, SPKS believes that the moratorium is also beneficial to overcome the problems of excessive palm oil production, but, at the same time, it criticizes the B20 policy. “Indonesian palm oil is abundant in ports and therefore, the Government makes B20 policy for new markets because the unsold crude palm oil (CPO) stocks have impacted the farmers’ Fresh Fruit Bunch (FFB) low price,” said SPKS.
SPKS also demands a number of things from the existing moratorium, such as the legality of farmers’ land that needs to be resolved, smallholder data collection, an audit to strengthen cooperation between smallholders and palm oil companies.
The Palm Scribe has contacted several large palm oil companies regarding the moratorium decision from the government, but none of them answered.