InfoSAWIT, JAKARTA - The sweet things could turn to be sad when the smallholders faced lots of debts and should be paid.
This happened with the smallholders. In 2008, for instance, when the crude palm oil got the best price, and the expensive fresh fruit bunch (FFB), the farmers changed their areas to be palm oil plantation.
It was hoped to get much profit from planting palm oil. It was good. There were many new rich men in palm oil centers in this country. Having two – hectare area, the smallholders could get about Rp 5 to 6 million, at the time.
Unfortunately, when palm oil’s booming, the smallhlders were consumptive. To get electronic product, fancy cars, building houses, and pilgrim to Mecca for several times, they were not reluctant to get credits or debts. When they were in harvest, the smallholders could take their family to go to Jakarta or abroad.
A plasma smallholder, Zulkifli Ritonga, told, the consumptive, and lavish behavior always became the main causes to their failure in cultivating palm oil.
Based on his experiences, the failure was not from the cultivation, but the expensive ‘behaviour’ cost in the smallholders.
Many of them got more debts and it got worse, for example, that they lost their palm oil plantation that become the pillar of their economy. If this happened, they could be mad. They could lost their minds, and end their life.
Marwanto, a smallholder of Village of Sungai Pagar, Sub district of Kampar Kiri, District of Kampar, said, the decreasing FFB price made the smallholders frustration. “Some of us got crazy and tried to suicide,” he said.
They could not burden their harder lives for they got debts to pay for the FFB price was cheap and could not pay their debts.
Though two years after that the FFB price got better and stable, the smallholders should be consumptive. The changing climate could influence the FFB production from their plantations.
It needs right calculation before getting credits to buy fancy things. Don’t let the credit be boomerang for the smallholders themselves.(T2)