Jakarta, Armfalcon.com —
A number of associations farmer raise their voice regarding the issuance of RI Presidential Decree (Keppres) Number 9 of 2023 concerning the Task Force for Improving Industrial Governance Palm oil and Optimization of State Revenue.
Secretary General of the National Palm Oil Farmers Union (SPKS) Mansuetus Darto revealed that he understood President Joko Widodo’s (Jokowi) reasons for appointing Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Panjaitan as Chair of the Task Force for Improving Governance of the Palm Oil Industry and Optimizing State Revenue.
According to Darto, palm oil entrepreneurs will obey Luhut who is seen as having ownership power and close to Jokowi.
“Meanwhile, if ordered by the Ministry of Agriculture, it is not certain that palm oil entrepreneurs will be invited to a meeting. Like it or not (Luhut leads the palm oil task force), he has power to push the policy to the level of big businessmen,” said Darto Armfalcon.com.comTuesday (18/4).
However, there are several notes from SPKS related to the Palm Oil Industry Management Task Force led by Luhut. Moreover, there is no clarity on the results of the audit of oil palm entrepreneurs conducted by the Financial and Development Supervisory Agency (BPKP) on Luhut’s orders.
Darto asked the task force responsible directly to Jokowi to work in a transparent manner.
He gave examples of several things that were not touched by the audit, including the company’s responsibility to the community and farmers. He then hopes that the task force will involve civil society and farmers’ unions.
He also advised Luhut to be careful in determining state revenue. This is because the area of the company’s plantations is not necessarily the same as the reality on the ground.
Darto said that many company concessions cleared land for oil palm that exceeded the right to cultivate (HGU). If left unchecked, there will continue to be conflicts with society.
“If you use the HGU document, of course it will be irrelevant for pursuing taxes. In addition, many companies do not have an HGU, or even none at all. So, there is the potential for loss of state revenue there,” he said.
In addition, Darto reported that there are many individuals who own more than 25 hectares of oil palm land, but are still protected under the name of oil palm smallholders. In fact, land ownership of more than 25 hectares is already included in the corporate category.
He also offends databases people’s palm oil is not clear. Darto quoted data from the Ministry of Agriculture which stated that there were 6.7 million hectares of people’s plantation land, whereas originally only around 3.2 million hectares and the rest were large plantations.
“This is the source of receiving state funds. Because of that, you have to do it carefully, you can’t involve the local government alone because that’s part of the governance problem,” said Darto.
Meanwhile, DPP Chairperson of the Indonesian Palm Oil Growers Association (Apkasindo) Gulat Manurung said oil palm growers had high hopes for Luhut. He hopes that Luhut’s presence will not add to the difficulties for oil palm farmers.
“Our message, 17 million oil palm smallholders and oil palm workers to Pak Luhut Binsar Panjaitan (LBP), don’t think that this task force will actually make it difficult for us farmers with various articles that we cannot possibly reach with all our limitations,” said Gulat.
“We oil palm growers are sure and believe Mr. LBP will not do that, making it difficult. It is precisely to protect us oil palm growers that Mr. Jokowi trusts Mr. LBP to lead the task force which is enough to determine the future of this nation’s economy,” he added.
Gulat emphasized that Apkasindo believes in Luhut, but with several conditions. He hopes the task force will help create a scheme that makes it easier for oil palm smallholders.
First, help farmers solve problems in determining plantation areas. Gulat alluded to the clarity of the entry of forest areas into existing smallholder oil palm plantations.
Second, improving the management of prices for smallholder fresh fruit bunches (FFB), which so far has been very far from the price crude palm oil (CPO) domestically and globally. Third, the task force led by Luhut was asked to support the acceleration of the people’s oil palm rejuvenation program (PSR).
Fourth, Gulat asked the task force to divide assignments in the downstream sector by assigning PT Perkebunan Nusantara (PTPN) holding together with smallholder oil palm plantations to meet domestic palm oil needs. Meanwhile, other corporations were asked to focus on exports.
Fifth, Apkasindo proposed that the assignment of the palm oil task force lead to the formation of the Indonesian Palm Oil National Agency (BNSI) which is directly under President Jokowi. That way, Gulat said that BNSI would take care of all palm oil matters, from upstream to downstream.
“Unlike now, there are many ministries/agencies (K/L) interfering, which makes things even more complicated. We farmers, especially the state, are greatly disadvantaged in various ways, especially state income,” he said.
Armfalcon.com.com also contacted the general chairman of the Indonesian Palm Oil Producers Association (GAPKI) Eddy Martono to respond to the appointment of Luhut and the palm oil presidential decree issued by Jokowi. However, the person concerned has not provided a response until this news was published.