Smallholders Demand Legal Investigation of SRP in South Bangka

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Illustration of palm oil plantation that will be replanted. Photo by: Palmoilmagazine.com

PALMOILMAGAZINE, BANGKA – Smallholders in Bedengung Village, Payung Subdistrict, South Bangka Regency, Bangka Belitung Province, are calling on legal authorities to investigate potential issues surrounding the Smallholders Replanting Program (SRP).

They allege significant financial discrepancies amounting to billions of rupiah in SRP funds and budget allocations. Hermanto, a smallholder from Bedengung Village, expressed concern that the SRP conducted by Gabungan Kelompok Tani (Gapoktan) Barokah in early 2024 may have been corrupted.

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“The allocated funds of Rp 1.5 billion for SRP in our village were intended for 51 hectares, but there are suspicions of corruption. We urge the police, prosecutors, and other institutions to promptly investigate this matter,” Hermanto stated, as reported by Bangkapos.com on Tuesday, July 2, 2024.

Also Read: Bangka Tengah District Receives Infrastructure Allocation to Enhance Palm Oil Plantation Methods and Expansion

He also said there was price gap on palm oil seeds. The seeds should really be sold at Rp 55 thousand per stalk while in the budget plans, it was written for Rp 65 thousand per stalk. The price gap was never returned to the smallholders. Besides, many palm oil trees that were cut off but not be chipped, some old trees still stand even though the fund was handed over to cut off the trees or to chip the falling ones. The fund given had been 100 percent.

“We are sorry that the third party may not verify and get field visit before handing over the fund. The fund distribution itself may have issue because it should be fully handed over after the work is done and based on the regulation,” he said.

The smallholders reported the case to Agriculture, Food and Fishery Agency Regency of South Bangka but there is no action until now. The cut off and chipping which did not qualify the work would be a loss for the smallholders. The late seed distribution would make the plantations full of bushes and the smallholders should do extra work.

“That is why we have to wait for the seeds. It is nearly eight months. Our plantations get back as bushes. The rats attack. This raised question, what happened with the development and supervisory team about this?” Hermanto said. (T2)

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