The Palm Scribe

Palm Oil Farmers Want Speedier ISPO Certification

The Indonesian Alliance of Plantation Farmers Associations (GAPPERINDO) is calling on the President to issue an instruction to the relevant ministries to accelerate ISPO (Indonesia Sustainable Palm Oil) certifications for the country’s palm oil production.


“What is needed is not a presidential regulation on technicalities of ISPO and changes in its organizational structure. What is now needed is a presidential instruction to the Minister of Agriculture, the Minister of Environment and Forestry, the Minister of Agrarian Affairs and Spatial Zoning and the Minister of Finance to accelerate the implementation of this certification,” GAPPERINDO Secretary General Gamal Nasir, said according to a report of on April 4, 2018.

A report uploaded on the website of the Indonesian Association of Palm Oil Producers (GAPKI) said that the president is expected to be able to issue a presidential regulation in May.

Musdalifah Machmud, the Deputy for Coordination in the Food and Agriculture Sector at the Coordinating Ministry for the Economy, was quoted in the same report as saying that the government was also preparing an independent ISPO institution.

“At present, it (the ISPO Presidential Regulation) is still at the stage of the legal aspects, at the Coordinating Ministry for the Economy, Hopefully, the presidential regulation can be issued in the first half or 2018,” Machmud said.

Nasir said that ISPO should remain in the hands of the government, in this case, the Directorate General for Plantations of the Ministry of Agriculture and that all ISPO certification must only be issued by the Commission.

“The principles and criteria of ISPO are all contained in the Law. How the independent institution works and what its methods are should refer to the Law. So far, it has been proven that many certification institutions are certifying plantations which turn out have Cultivation Rights although located in forest areas,” Nasir said.

He said that ISPO was totally different from certification such as the Indonesian Timber Legality Assurance System (Sistem Verifikasi Legalitas Kayu /SVLK) which only deals with the end product and not the process. Under ISPO, oil palm trees need to be cultivated under the principles contained in the system and it was the responsibility of the Directorate General of Plantation to make sure and supervise that the management of the palm oil plantations follows good sustainable practices.

“The matter is not whether an independent institution is necessary for ISPO. The presidential regulation on ISPO should not contain technical matters regarding palm oil. The president should not be burdened by technical matters as he had already delegated his authority for dealing with these matters to the agriculture minister. The other ministries should contribute in helping to accelerate the implementation of the ISPO,’ Nasir said.

He said that although ISPO has been made mandatory for Indonesian palm oil producers, certification had only covered some 24 percent. Nasir added that if Indonesia wanted the trust of international markets, 100 percent of the country’s production should be certified and therefore a presidential instruction was needed for all sides to accelerate ISPO certification for plantations of companies or smallholders.

He cited the example of the minister of environment and forestry and the minister for agrarian affairs who should try to deal with the many plantation areas that within forests or are in conflicts. Nasir said that application for ISPO certification are slowing down because many of the plantations are located in the forest or are under conflict.

Meanwhile, Machmud said that the transparency aspect will be included in the new regulation and the government will also improve the data on palm oil companies and smallholders, the latter one being rather difficult to do.

“They produce and the products are then sent to the palm oil mills. From these mills, we will see how much are their respective production, We will look at the traceability in each mill, how many farmers are supplying the mills. This will be much more detailed because we will trace the supply,” Machmud said.

In the report on GAPKI’s Website, Rino Afrino, Deputy Secretary General of the Association of Palm Oil Farmers of Indonesia (APKASINDO) said that ISPO policy should be followed up with regulations that would accelerate the settlement of the problems faced by smallholders.

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