InfoSAWIT, JAKARTA - The continuous accusation about the massive forest cut aimed to the developing countries, namely the palm oil producers, it needs to see the detail. The question might rise, the forests are half more than the total areas, while they should feed about 300 million people, how could it be?
Indonesia and Malaysia are the same developing countries which historically depend on agriculture development to support the economy. The transformation to the other sectors, such as, the service and industries are ongoing. But the pillar of economy is still about the agriculture.
In the first phase, palm oil industry was developed by the World Bank within the name, perkebunan inti rakyat or skim inti-plasma. This was to reduce the poor people and minimize the crowded population in Java Island to the main islands to develop palm oil in Sumatera and Kalimantan.
During the transformative period, they substituted the forests to be agriculture areas to plant palm oil plantations. The method is implemented in many countries when a community needs to develop the agriculture and livestock industries. This happens in the advance countries in European Union.
The palm oil investment in Indonesia took place before proclaiming the independence-day from Netherland. The pioneer investment was the Belgium company, Société Internationale de Plantations et de Finance (SIPEF) in Medan, North Sumatera, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 1919. SIPEF still operates until now in Indonesia.
Palm oil development in the developing countries is still dominated by the numbers of workers. It is proven by the numbers of smallholders in this sector. In Indonesia, more than 17 million smallholders work in palm oil plantations concentrated in Sumatera and Kalimantan.
These groups got the economic and social advantages from the cultivation. It conquers the poverty and increases the education level of the children in palm oil centers. (Dupito D. Simamora/Vice Executive Director of CPOPC & Hijjaz Sutriadi/Consultant in CPOPC)
For more, please read InfoSAWIT, May 2020