Antara, Jakarta – The Indonesian Palm Oil Farmers Association (Apkasindo) on Wednesday claims that they found cases where palm oil farmers are starting to show mental health problems caused by the prices of fresh fruit bunch (FFB) that have nosedived. Apkasindo consultant bureau currently oversees 80 palm farmers.
"Palm oil farmers have become stressed and acting out unusual things such as trying to cut down their trees with a machete. Like, how can you do it with a machete? That is one of the mental stress they show," said Apkasinda chairperson Gulat Manurung on June 22.
Manurung said such behavior was revealed in the Apkasindo meeting attended by representatives from 22 provinces, where the organization aimed to record the condition experienced by each and every palm farmer and the psychological pressures due to the dropping prices of palm fruits.
He added that this has also affected the children of the farmers where a large number of college students had to file for a leave and high school students think twice before registering for college.
"The effects of the dropping prices of palm FFB are extraordinary. Whey is it though? Because palm oil differs from coal that is handled by major companies. 42 percent of palm farms are managed by the people," he added.
Manurung asserted that this situation affects 17 million farmers and workers in the industry, which is a stark contrast to the condition of crude palm oil prices on a global scale. As global CPO prices are down in value to Rp20,000 per kilogram, Indonesia's CPO prices drop to Rp14,000 while palm oil FFB nosedives to Rp9,600 per kilogram.
The drop in FFB prices occurred due to the burden of CPO, including export duties (BK) of US$288, export levies (PE) of US$200, and flush out (FO) of US$200. Then added to the policies of domestic market obligation (DMO) and domestic price obligation (DPO).