Develop Independent Village from Palm Oil

Foto By Miftahurrohman/SawitFest 2021
Develop Independent Village from Palm Oil

InfoSAWIT, JAKARTA – Governor West Kalimantan, Sutarmidji realized that to change hundreds of very abandoned villages will not be enough from Regional Budget Revenue only namely in pandemic. There has to be strategy to do through political policies. He took stakeholders and it hit. After three years leading the province, there have been 385 independent villages – from one village only. Minister of Village, Development of Disadvantaged Region and Transmigration, Abdul Halim Iskandar did appreciate it.

“Since palm oil plantation company operates in our village, palm oil delivers economy for our people,” Supriyanto told to the writer. He is Chief of Village of Sukamulia, Sub district of Parindu, District of Sanggau, West Kalimantan Province. It lays about 800 hectares, has 780 Families or about 3.000 men. It is 180 kilometer from the capital city of West Kalimantan, Pontianak.

The writer met him at afternoon in a small grocery store while drinking coffee. As a journalist, I wondered how palm oil delivers economy for the villagers.

Supriyanto told, Village of Sukamulia was a forest and bush, in 1980, President Soeharto selected the village to be joining transmigration program about 40o villagers from Central Java and West Java were sent here to cultivate areas. He is one of them joining transmigration program.

He really remembered, in the early days he came to the village, it was hard. No access and power. The regional government provided small land for transmigrators to live, plantation seeds, and tools to farm, such as, squeeze and hoe. The transmigrators were taught to survive only by planting intercrops and farming.

But since palm oil plantation company operated, the villagers’ economy got better by planting palm oil. The transmigrators could save. If it is assumed, per family could independently plant palm oil in one hectare - area, it could produce 1 (one) ton fresh fruit bunch (FFB). If FFB was about Rp 1500 per kilogram, at least, transmigrators could get about Rp 3 million per month because we could harvest twice a month.

Apart from cultivating palm oil plantation, villagers of Sukamulia also do farming. Two commodities are only additional income for the villagers. In December 2020, Regent of Sanggau, Paulus Hadi decided Village of Sukamulia was a strong village in economy and pandemic which means, the village could integrate natural resources and home industries in one region.

Besides the presence of smallholders and farmers, the villagers could develop people’s economic regions, one of them is factory to process tahu, tempe, and bakery.

From what villagers processed and produced, home industries in the village provide food needs in District of Sanggau. “We get what we did when the government decided to restrict villagers’ mobility, our economy remained stable in pandemic,” he said with a smile and ended our chit-chat.


Change The Status of Village

Ever since palm oil investment gets into West Kalimantan Province in one last decade, it always happens that palm oil does not contribute to regional development. West Kalimantan with 2 million hectares of concession areas still has many villages within abandoned and very abandoned status.

Community and Village Empowerment Agency, West Kalimantan Province, for instance, noted that in 2018, there was one independent village which was, Village of Sutera in Sub district of Sukadana, District of Kayong Utara; while 53 other villages had developed village status, 372 villages had developing village status.

Abandoned village status reached 928; and very abandoned status reached 677 village. At the time, it was normal if the province was ranked as the third lowest province in Indonesia after Papua in Indeks Desa Membangun (IDM) indicator.

Knowing that many villages were in abandoned and very abandoned status in Borneo Island, Governor Sutarmidji came into an idea. Regional Budget would not be enough to accelerate IDM. It needed synergy from others, namely palm oil plantation companies.

The first thing to gather plantation companies was by getting Indonesian Palm Oil Association (IPOA). They were asked to participate to get IDM indicator fulfilled. The writer noted, there are 52 indicators to fulfill, to change village status to be independent. Palm oil plantation companies got part to provide villages’ infrastructures while Army and Police were asked to strengthen food, social security by ‘program kampung tangguh’.

The cooperation got stronger by conducting memorandum of understanding (MoU). It was running on Friday (18/6/2021) in the Pendopo Gubernur, West Kaimantan among Provincial Government of West Kalimantan and IPOA. This was the first cooperation in Indonesia which involved private sector to accelerate independent village development.

In the MoU, the association should remind companies to oblige and really corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs.

According to Plantation Agency West Kalimantan Province, palm oil allocation by 2025 lays about 1,5 million hectares within nowadays composition about 880 thousand hectares and production about 1 million tons per year. Of all palm oil plantations, there are about one hundred thousand families involved.

The writer concluded, West Kalimantan as the second crude palm oil (CPO) producer in Indonesia should welfare villages in concession areas within abandoned status to be independent ones.

To realize it, the regional government and companies could collaborate fund. It could start by developing public infrastructures, such as, improving ways in the villages, empowering villagers’ economy by getting entrepreneurship partnership.

For instance, palm oil waste process for fertilizers and woofs, making Masyarakat Peduli Api (MPA) when the fire happened in forests and areas, and supporting to establish Badan Usaha Milik Desa (BUMDes) or Village Enterprises.

The end goal is clear. It is about to deliver massage to many villagers that palm oil investment contributes to the villagers and stop others to conduct ‘black campaigns’ about palm oil.

As the result, every work hard makes the villagers’ economy better and increase their welfare by having equal development. No more very abandoned villages in the province since 2021.

The optimism is based on the achievement that 385 villages are in independent status; 456 villages are in developed status; 910 villages are in developing status; 280 villages are abandoned status in the last three years.

Minister of Village, Development of Disadvantaged Region and Transmigration, Abdul Halim Iskandar is amazed and believed, West Kalimantan will get no more abandoned village status for years to go.

Back to Supriyanto, palm oil changes the economy in the village. At least, it describes how an investment could be equal to welfare villagers around.

Palm oil massively changes some sides directly. The commodity can change the rights of land mastery and natural resources to get local economic aspects where villagers got food, water, and construction material, and how they could enjoy their economic outcome.

Eventually, the government and companies’ commitments are the keys to accelerate independent village development. It starts from realizing villagers’ welfare fairly and equally. (*)

By: Andi Ridwansyah

Nominator Sawit Fest 2021 Kategori Lomba Esai / this article has been edited; for more details, please go to SAWIT FEST 2021  


About Sawit Fest :

Sawit Fest 2021 supported to escalate palm oil literacy for the people in public and young generations in special to deliver whole description about palm oil industries. It was also to deliver the right understanding about palm oil contribution to countries, social, and environment.

Sawit Fest 2021 was supported by Palm Oil Plantation Fund Management Agency (PFMA), Bumitama Gunajaya Agro Group, Indonesian Palm Oil Association (IPOA), Asian Agri Group, PT Austindo Nusantara Jaya Tbk, and PT Cisadane Sawit Raya Tbk., with the strategic media partners, Media InfoSAWIT and Palm Oil Magazine.

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