InfoSAWIT, JAKARTA – When complicated system and policy happen in Indonesia, what we do to obey sustainability principles is a complex struggle. How would we face the challenges and when would the complex situation remain still by the government? These questions still hang in the air.
The government should actually deliver technical and financial supports for independent smallholders to get sustainable practices by having trainings, selecting more sustainable plant variety, and comprehensive solutions that would help to increase plantation production. Independent smallholders’ empowerment and escalating the quality of organization would be significant to get better access to resources, markets, and knowledge needed.
Deforestation and forest degradation in Indonesia are not internal issues in this country but many countries concern about. That is why ending the two would be the same responsibility for the future of our planet proactively.
Every actor in palm oil supply chain should respect existing condition and acknowledge every available challenge and impact. This needs synergy to get the next move. We have to realize that deforestation and forest degradation in Indonesia is the result from many structural, economic, and social history factors which were very complex. These include the government’s policies to get palm oil product, and the lives of smallholders around the established palm oil (commodities).
Many smallholders and people that involve in palm oil industrial supply chain do not have alternative sources of living that are qualified. That is why creating solution that respects existing condition, delivering worth alternative for the smallholders themselves would be the successful key in (palm oil) plantation sustainability governance. The important thing is about to create consensus to get development sustainably. Every party, such as the government, industry, and people, need to acknowledge their roles to solve forest degradation and deforestation that happened. We could get cooperation to get fair and sustainable solution by having the same recognition.
Here are eight aspects that would be the important things from what independent smallholders experienced to escalate natural resource governance sustainable to protect forests, natural diversity, and natural environment in a whole:
- Plantations (areas) inventory and identification: getting area data and identification would be significant thing to solve deforestation and forest degradation in Indonesia. accurate data about palm oil location in many villages, both belonging to corporates, smallholders’ unions, and independent smallholder individually would be the needs to get or publish effective policies.
- Deliver fair access for independent smallholders: by delivering legal access about other use area and social forestry scheme which are the same with the laws, the government could create fair and sustainable legal schemes. These would reinforce the smallholders to trust, encourage cooperation, and minimize illegal practices that damage forests.
- Support for sustainable practices: delivering technical and financial supports for smallholders to implement sustainable agricultural practices is the significant things to minimize the impact of palm oil industries to the environment. Trainings, selecting better plant varieties, wisely water management and better environmental practices would help protect the forests and escalate smallholders’ plantation productivity in the long term.
- Create alternative sources of living: exploring alternative sources of living for the people that depend on palm oil plantations is the long - term key. Source of living diversification, such as, agriculture, other sustainable plantation commodities, tourism, or other agro-cultivation would help them to depend on palm oil (commodity)
- Encourage better practices: encouraging smallholders to implement better management practices is also significant thing to minimize palm oil industrial impacts for the environment. These practices could be in the form of applying pesticides wisely, better waste management, efficiently applying fertilizers. By promoting that smallholders doing better practices, they would minimize the environmental risks.
- Actively involve the government and private (sectors): the roles of the government to monitor and manage palm oil industries would be important. In this case, the private sectors are having corporate social responsibility on the environment to adopt sustainable practices in their supply chain.
- Escalate people’s understanding: escalating the people’s understanding about forest conservation and sustainable practices is a crucial thing. Public education and awareness would help them to change their behavior and culture around palm oil industries.
- Cooperation in international scale: deforestation and forest degradation are the issues in the globe. Cooperation with many communities in international level, including the countries that import palm oil products, would help escalate the pressure on practices that damage environment. By having cooperation in international scale, we could share about available natural resource insight and support to maintain tropical forests well in the world.
European Union (EU) dependence on palm oil could be as a political action of Indonesia to manage palm oil industries in national scale though the external regulation, such as, European Union Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) would not influence market access and economic stability in a whole. Indonesia needs to show its commitment on sustainability as part of the global society.
Palm oil industries in national scale and downstream industries would be the urgent transition from EU exclusive and independent transition to manage palm oil industries. This would expand market access change in this country, maintain independent smallholders’ income, enable Indonesia to focus on efficient production, distribution, and marketing palm oil downstream products. Then, by having (good) relation with other countries, Indonesia would reinforce its sovereign economic independency and politics to manage its natural resources. (*)