The Strategic Commodity Sector, The Palm Oil Industry Needs to be Protected Act

By : Hariyanto And Aldo Bella Putra | Friday, December 22 2017 - 21:00 IWST

INDUSTRY.co.id - Jakarta - Oil palm as a national strategic commodity, worthy of state protection through a regulation in the form of law (UU), said member of Commission IV of DPR Hamdhani.

According to him in Jakarta, yesterday some of the main reasons for the importance of the Law on palm oil, in addition to being a national strategic commodity that needs to be protected, the existence of this Act will also protect the interests of oil palm growers.

"There should be a special legal umbrella, the rights of farmers should be protected, because in this oil palm plantation is not only done by big businessmen, but also there are farmers both plasma and independent farmers," he said.

Palm, he added, has now become a large industry that absorbs about 30 million workers, either directly or indirectly. Even since 2016, this commodity contributes to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Rp260 trillion.

This amount places palm as a commodity that contributes the most to national GDP, beyond the tourism, oil and gas sectors.

Therefore, Hamdhani continued, the government should support this bill, because if it is not made a special law, the palm oil industry will slowly eroded by similar commodities produced by foreign countries.

"Europe and America are also desperately protecting their rapeseed, sunflower, canola and soybean commodities, and they have been campaigning negatively for our palm," said the legislator from the Electoral District (Dapil) of Central Kalimantan.

The special law also mandates a special body that regulates the matter of oil from upstream to downstream. The existence of this special body, he said, will facilitate the government in regulating the industry that has been proven to be the backbone of this national economy.

For now, the palm oil industry is taken care of by many ministries / state institutions, but ironically, the policies among the ministries / agencies are in contradiction and overlap.

In the bill, it will fight for the revenue-sharing fund for palm oil producing areas.

"There are currently 18 provinces that produce palm oil, but there is no profit-sharing fund given to the region, because there is a profit-sharing share in the oil and gas sector as the oil palm industry has exceeded the oil and gas sector," he told media crews.

Hamdhani also disagreed if the bill is considered overlapping with the Plantation Law, because the Plantation Act regulates 127 commodities while the Palm Oil Act specifically regulates oil palm.

"To finish the exploration need a law that is lex specialist," he said.

In addition, the palm was also proven to overcome the economic disparities of people in Java and outside Java. On the other hand, there are also issues of farmers and indigenous peoples who need to be reorganized and regulated due to the large amount of community land that is reforested by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (LHK) in Central Kalimantan Province.

"In addition to the many problems of land owned by farmers in Central Kalimantan, the status is unclear. On the other hand, the name of this palm is faced by Malaysian competitors who already have a more rigid Act, while the world's CPO market that controls Indonesia. If we do not immediately make the regulation, then not close the possibility we will be shifted Malaysia so that the potential state revenue will come down," said Hamdhani.

Deputy Secretary General of Indonesian Palm Oil Farmers Association (Apkasindo) Rino Afrino supports the bill soon to be enacted, as the existence of the Palm Oil Law affirms the position of palm as a national strategic commodity.

"Because it involves a large state revenues and public welfare, so this industry must be protected by special rules," he said.

According to him, the current palm oil plantation is only guided by the Directorate General of Plantation, while the agency under the Ministry of Agriculture is not only doing the palm oil, but also build 127 other plantation commodities, so less focus.

It is optimistic that if the bill is enacted, then the problems at the farm level will be resolved. Rino explained that during this time oil palm farmers are still struggling on spatial issues, certification, low productivity of crops, peat lands, fresh fruit bunch management (TBS), and partnerships with companies.

Related to that both the House of Representatives and Apkasindo support the steps Legislation Body (Baleg) DPR which includes the bill Palm Oil into the national legislation program (Prolegnas) 2018. "So we support this bill into 2018 prolegnas," said Rino.

Previously, a number of NGOs and environmental activists rejected the Perkelapasawitan Bill into Prolegnas 2018, arguing that the bill overlaps and contradicts the Plantation and Peatland PP Law.

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