Irony of Palm Oil Plantation Governance in Indonesia

Foto by Dea Kinanti/Sawitfest 2021
Irony of Palm Oil Plantation Governance in Indonesia

InfoSAWIT, JAKARTA - Indonesia is the biggest palm oil producer in the globe together with Malaysia. According to Central Bureau of Statistic (CBS) in 2019, palm oil plantations laid about 14,6 million hectares. More than half of the numbers were mastered/cultivated by private sectors (55,09%) or about 7.892.706 hectares. The rests were cultivated by government and people.

Palm oil contributed 35 – 40 percent of the total vegetable oil markets in the globe. In 2021, palm oil exports reached more than 20 billion US dollar or increased 155 percent compared to last year.

In Indonesia, palm oil is exchange provider in non – oil and gas exports up to 27,3 billion US dollar AS in January - October 2021.

To boost and increase palm oil production, many sides want to conduct extensification by advantaging critical forest, unproductive, and abandon areas.

Unfortunately, in palm oil plantation expansion, both corporates and people do not implement sustainable and environmental ways, they just illegally cut off the forest areas.

By the late of 2021, it is predicted, illegal palm oil plantation laid about 3,1 million hectares in the forest areas both in production forests and protected and conservation forests.

The plantations in conservation forests laid about 115.694 hectares, in protected forests laid about 174.910 hectares, in limited production forests laid about 454.849 hectares, in general production forests laid about 1.484.075 hectares and ‘conserved’ production forests laid about 1.224.291 hectares.

The issues get more complicated and chaos that the government revoked legal palm oil plantation licenses that lay about 1,788 million hectares where they are not cultivated or they are abandoned or misused to other business. The legal license revocation in Indonesia means the proof that palm oil expansion in Indonesia is not urgent at this moment as long as, the governance (including regulation, license, sustainable principles) is not well improved.

On one hand, Indonesia is struggling for convincing the world, namely European Union that palm oil from Indonesia is sustainably produced.

On the other hand, the issues showed that palm oil plantation governance in Indonesia is not fully sustainable. Two proofs showed that illegal palm oil plantations laid about 3,1 million hectares in forest regions and legal plantations laid about 1,7 million hectares that the government revoked. These are undisputed proofs. (*)

by: Pramono Dwi Susetyo

Once worked at Ministry of Environment and Forestry