InfoSAWIT, JAKARTA – The epidemic of corona virus (Covid-19) hits many provinces in this nation, including the provinces producing palm oil. The option to run lockdown is being debated for many groups and figures proposed that President Joko Widodo should immediately do the same with other countries, implementing the lockdown.
“But the option ‘lockdown’ would be a concern for the smallholders who depend on crude palm oil (CPO) price and they have no food yard except palm oil,” General Secretary of Serikat Petani Kelapa Sawit (SPKS), Mansuetus Darto said, as in the official statement toInfoSAWIT recently.
He thought that if the president runs it, this could make the lives of the smallholders worse. They have no stocks of food, such as, rice, vegetables, fruits or other needs in general to get nutrition. For all these years, the smallholders (plasma and independent) always buy the food in the markets. They sold the fresh fruit bunch (FFB) then they bought kinds of food. If the FFB price gets cheaper, they may be in hunger or reduce to buy foods.
“Because of covid-19, the FFB price gets cheaper because the goal export countries are mostly hit by the Covid, such as, China, Arab, and Europe,” he said.
The option to run lockdown would make the smallholders in misery because the harvest would be minimally running, the fertilizer distribution would be postponed, the replanting program would not hit the target and the palm oil factory would shortly operate. “When the smallholders do not harvest or factory stops operating, the smallholders would be hungry,” he said.
He did hope that the option to lockdown would not be the strategic one because it endangers 10 millions of men who depend on palm oil.
“SPKS does hope that the government could guarantee the food distribution to many districts within the normal price, the factories could operate and guarantee the socialization prevention of Covid – 19 to the villages producing palm oil by taking the palm oil companies to participate and help the government to fight for the virus,” he said. (T2)