Fajar Pebrianto, Jakarta – Presidential Chief of Staff Moeldoko acknowledged that the growth of palm oil plantations presented a dilemma. Indonesia was caught between its impact on the welfare of farmers and the environment.
"Like two sides of a knife," said the retired general in a national webinar on the strengthening of palm oil management policies on Wednesday, February 10.
As of 2020, the number of palm oil plantations in Indonesia reached 22.1 million hectares. "It is located in almost all provinces in Indonesia, from Aceh to Papua. This is quite large," he added.
On the one hand, the government acknowledged that this sector caused a good impact on the economy and welfare of farmers. But on the other hand, the sector which absorbed 16.2 million workers presented some negative impacts on forest biodiversity and flora and fauna there.
"I'm not saying it's totally terrible, but there are some negative impacts," he remarked.
According to him, challenges in this sector would also increase if entrepreneurs and farmers did not immediately improve their plantation management given that the environment has become an international issue. "Developed countries continue to voice [the issues]," Moeldoko underlined.
Efforts to control the expansions of palm oil plantations had been carried out through the Presidential Instruction (Inpres) No. 8 of 2018 inked by President Jokowi on September 29, 2018. However, the moratorium would end in 2021.
An environmental NGO the Madani Foundation thus asked President Jokowi to extend the moratorium considering that the government still has many issues in palm oil policies that must be addressed for the welfare of farmers and regions.