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The Reasons of 18 November as Hari Sawit Nasional

Foto By Afrinaldi Zulhen/SawitFest 2021 - Ilustration of oil palm lanskap
The Reasons of 18 November as Hari Sawit Nasional

InfoSAWIT, JAKARTA – On 18 November in every year, palm oil planters celebrate "Hari Sawit Nasional” in Indonesia. The first celebration was on the field of Pusat Penelitian Kelapa Sawit (PPKS) Medan on 18 November 2017 by Indonesian Palm Oil Board (IPOB) and other related stakeholders. Hari Sawit Nasional is not only a celebration only but also the important moment to evaluate the progress and challenges in palm oil sector in this country.

The decision to make 18 November as Hari Sawit Nasional was reasonable. IPOB was in collaboration with PPKS that has experts and library with books of history about palm oil in Indonesia. According to the articles written by Hunger (1924), commercial palm oil from artificial plants took place on 18 November 1911. That is why IPOB decided the date as Hari Sawit Nasional.

As time went by, palm oil industries in Indonesia significantly contributed to the country’s revenue. In the past eight years, it significantly contributed but the celebration of Hari Sawit Nasional should not be the moment of price only but also the chance to review this industrial development.

One aspect to be evaluated is the environmental impacts. Though palm oil massively contributed to the economy, palm oil plantation expansion is always thought as the source of deforestation, damage, animal extinction, and conflicts with the local people. That is why it is important for these industries to keep escalating practices sustainably and responsibly.

What InfoSAWIT knew, palm oil according to environmental perspectives has been developing since 2011 by publishing Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO). The stakeholders joining in Indonesian Palm Oil Association (IPOA) fully commits on implementing the policy.

Until now, 85 percent members of IPOA get Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) certificates. Chairman of IPOA, Eddy Martono said that there are few members about to get ISPO certificates to get higher targets and qualify ISPO terms and condition.

One concrete thing to do is by having ISPO clinic again. It is hoped to solve every issue that IPOA members face to get ISPO certificates.

“We hope we could realize the higher percentage. If we could not realize 100 percent, we would get 10 percent more,” Eddy Martono said to InfoSAWIT in IPOA office in Jakarta. . (Read Majalah InfoSAWIT, October 2023)

But in smallholders’ perspective, the policy implementation may be slow. Quoting from the official page of Forum Petani Kelapa Sawit Berkelanjutan Indonesia (Fortasbi) as the institution that develops smallholders having ISPO and Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certificates, smallholders that got sustainable certificates are only in seven provinces, they are, North Sumatera, Riau, Jambi, South Sumatera, West Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, and Central Kalimantan. Total smallholders that got it reached about 15 thousand in 51 groups with the total palm oil plantations that laid about 33 thousand hectares or only 0,2% only.

It is beyond expectation knowing that the smallholders’ palm oil plantations laid about 6,5 million hectares. Of course, this would be the big work for the governments, both the central and regional ones to escalate ISPO scheme. The President’s Regulation Number 44 / 2020 about ISPO Certification System mandates that the smallholders are obliged to implement sustainable practices according to ISPO principles and criteria in 2025 or it is only 2 years to go.

Secretary of ISPO Commission, Herdradjat Natawidjaja said that to accelerate ISPO implementation for smallholders, terms and conditions in ISPO get simplified. There are only four conditions, such as, the first, Cultivation Documents; the second, evidence (document) of land ownership; the third, documents of internal control system (ICS); and the fourth, statement of environment control. (Read Majalah InfoSAWIT, August 2023)

It means, Hari Sawit Nasional should be the encourage to keep innovating and transforming. Palm oil industries in this country need to commit as the pioneer in sustainable practices, delivering the positive impacts for the people and environment to be not only the source of economy but also conserving the environment sustainably. (T2)