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Palm Oil Plantation Development: Urgent or Talkative Only?

Doc. InfoSAWIT
Palm Oil Plantation Development: Urgent or Talkative Only?

InfoSAWIT, JAKARTA – Even though Java is not the main island to develop palm oil in Indonesia, some regions, such as, West Java, Banten, and East Java significantly have developed palm oil plantations. Knowing that Java Island should play its role as food barn for the nation, a question raised about the advantages of palm oil planting in the island than cultivating other food commodities.

Deputy I in Food Stability and Availability, National Food Agency, Gusti Ketut Astawa emphasized tht Java is the food central for the nation, produced about 60% of the total food production nationally.

“Java is the central of food nationally. National Food Agency would try to control the price from upstream to downstream sector by confirming food supply (well). Palm oil is not the main commodity (to be developed) because palm oil in this country has enough supply and even it is exported,” Astawa said, as in the official statement to InfoSAWIT, Sunday (19/5/2024).

He told that when becoming a speaker in a book discussion and launch "Gula-gula Sawit di Pulau Jawa (Harapan Manis Berbuah Tangis?)" that was initiated by Sawit Watch on Thursday, 16 May 2024. It was broadcasted virtually through zoom and youtube.

Executive Director of Sawit Watch, Achmad Surambo said that even though plantation conversion in Java would be a new phenomenion, this should not be a trend. “It is a new phenomenon that many regions have been planted by palm oil. Palm oil itself is not the superior commodity in Java. It is better to develop other food commodities and forest regions get social forestry permit and do agro-forestry. Conduct tanah objek reforma agrarian (TORA) for the unavailable former business permits,” he said.

Arief Rahman from Pusat Pengkajian Perencanaan dan Pengembangan Wilayah (P4W) Institut Pertanian Bogor (IPB) University said that palm oil plantations in Java are narrow, only about 0,21% of total palm oil plantations nationally.

“Palm oil is not the theme. Even if agricultural sectors that can be categorized, food agriculture would be. Java should not be the island to develop palm oil and smallholders would not get the supports from the government. Palm oil is not the main commodity in Java both in policy and potential,” Arief said.

Within area with and environmental supports that are close to the limit, and food crisis that happens in the globe, substituting areas in Java to develop palm oil would raise questions. It needs to review more to confirm if it would deliver profits than developing other food commodities that would be more adjustable with the characteristics and needs in Java. (T2)