Collaborative Efforts between Smallholders and Plantation Companies in Jambi Since 1983

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Palm oil plantation illustration. Photo by: Sawit Fest 2021

PALMOILMAGAZINE, JAMBI – Since its inception in 1983/1984, the ‘Perkebunan Inti Rakyat (PIR) Transmigrasi’ program has introduced palm oil plantations to villagers, facilitated through cooperation between the government, smallholders, and plantation companies. Villagers were integrated as the plasma of these companies, enabling mutual reinforcement in business endeavors.

This initiative, supported by private companies, has maintained longevity within the province. In 1991, PT Inti Indosawit Subur commenced operations in Batanghari District, focusing on plantation development, including rubber and palm oil, under the ‘PIR Transmigrasi’ framework. Its primary palm oil plantations span approximately 5,359 hectares, complemented by plasma palm oil plantations covering 17,000 hectares.

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Reflecting on his family’s involvement, Suhar (35), the offspring of smallholders, shared that his parents had joined the ‘PIR Transmigrasi’ program years ago, leading them to cultivate palm oil in Jambi. They were allocated 2 hectares for residency and a yard spanning 0.5 hectares.

Also Read: The Origins of Palm Oil Partnerships for Smallholders Welfare

As the participant of ‘PIR Transmigrasi’ in 1991 from Central Java Province, his parents and his two brothers joined as the plasma smallholders of plantation company, PT Inti Indosawit Subur. Through the partnership, they got something to live in every month from the government.

As the plasma smallholders – the partners of private plantation company – the government helped them by getting the loan interest subsidy for about 10 years. The success as the smallholder could pay their loan from the banks in 5 to 6 years only.

Not only paying his bills to the banks faster from the schedule, in his journey of life as plasma smallholder, his parents and others have better economy, such as, the ability to buy other plantations in the surroundings.

In the educational level, there are many students studying in the national and international level, who are from the smallholder families.

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Suhar has known palm oil from his teen age. He is grateful for what his parents have done after planting palm oil. Thinking of his previous life in Central Java which was lack of everything, as a plasma smallholder, it changes his life to be better.

Suhar also helped his parents in his teen age. He also cultivated the plantation. The expensive or cheap FFB price becomes something priceless to learn.

As long as he recognized, the FFB got the most expensive price in 1998. They had double income. Many smallholders were out of control and bought everything. But he got different experience from his parents.

“In the year, the FFB was very expensive. But my parents just saved money,” he said.

His parents were thankful on the better price. But in the end, when the FFB price decreased in the early of 2000s, they could buy the other plantation which were not too far from their living. This makes them have other areas, reaching 10 hectares, out of the plasma plantation.

Though he passed vocational school only, but Suhar has better life. As the oldest son, he chooses to help his parents in cultivating palm oil areas.

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