The Integral Role and Career Pathways of Professional Palm Oil Planters

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Illustration of Palm oil plantation. Photo by: Sawit Fest 2021 / Trismon Saputra

PALMOILMAGAZINE, JAKARTA – As highlighted in a press conference by Indonesia’s Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs on April 22, 2021, palm oil plays a crucial role in the country’s economic development. As the world’s largest palm oil producer, Indonesia’s palm oil industry employs 16 million workers directly and indirectly.

The rapid growth of the palm oil sector is largely attributed to the dedicated planters involved. Planters have extensive responsibilities, such as plot assistants (asisten afdeling) who manage human resources, assets (including heavy machinery, vehicles, buildings, and roads), and oversee plantation operations across 500-700 hectares. Their duties include planning, executing, and supervising all activities.

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Career advancement for planters can be significant, starting from roles like foreman or management trainee, progressing to plot assistant, assistant head, plantation manager, and general manager. With dedication and skill, planters can ascend to top executive positions, including operational director, agronomy director, and even chief executive officer (CEO). However, career progression can be halted by issues such as corruption.

Also Read: IPB University Vocational School Students undergo Bintalfisdis Training with DENPOM Divisi 1 KOSTRAD for Palm Oil Plantation Skills Development

To succeed, planters must possess strong technical abilities and skills relevant to their job descriptions, as provided by their companies.

Not only that, a planter has to become ‘superman’ which means, an assistant should be responsible on maintaining harmonious relationship with the local people around the plantations and village officials. A planter should get his skill to manage every issue, such as, social, legal, environment, and others.

A planter should have his own character, a specific one as a field worker. He has to be able to adjust with plantation culture (getting up in the morning, having morning meeting, supervising the field work, getting solution on administration in the evening, and fully picking up the leftover fresh fruit bunch). A planter mostly works at the field that is why he has to be healthy. He has to have tough physical performance or iron of feet to supervise the work in person. He also has to have leadership characteristic to guide and lead his junior. He has to have communication skills to be able to communicate with the villagers, his junior, partners, and superior.

A planter, of course, want to get successful careers and he has to have integrity and professional characteristics.


Professional is the capability and skill of a planter to conduct his works. Professional would cover the commitment to do one job or work well. A professional (worker) has dedication which means one act of sacrifice in whole power, thought, and time to realize the goal(s). A highly dedicated planter will and be ready to sacrifice many things so that the company where he works at, can go forward. This will deliver the good – what you give in your work, it would deliver the best for your life and career.



To realize a work/job well, a professional would need integrity. According to KBBI (Kamus Besar Bahasa Indonesia), integrity is the quality, characteristics, or a state that show a whole unity and show to have potential and capability that emit authority or honesty.

Integrity would show consistency between what someone speaks and believes that would be reflected in his daily lives.

A planter within integrity would not do the bad. An assistant/planter is part of leader, to become leader should maintain his integrity and be trustworthy. The junior always tends to follow his leader and the leader should be the role model for his junior.

Having integrity would make a planter be trusted and respected by his work partners, comfortable when working, do every daily work/job in spirit. He would develop the connection between individuals and the society, for instance, he would cooperate to solve the work/job or other activities that require compactness/good cooperation.

It would be very significant for a planter to have integrity. Being professional and in integrity, a planter would get better careers. (*)

By: Maruli Pardamean/Palm oil plactitioner and palm oil author

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