Oil palm plantations exploit local resources and create backwardness in rural areas.

Perkebunan kelapa sawit mengeksploitasi sumber daya daerah dan menciptakan keterbelakangan di kawasan pedesaan.

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Since the beginning, or at least since the 1980s, the development of oil palm plantations in Indonesia, both as part of agricultural development and regional development (through a transmigration program), has been aimed at opening and building new economic growth centers in rural areas. Underdeveloped areas, periphery, remote, isolated and hinterland areas, are developed into new growth centers.

The development of oil palm plantations is a pioneering economic activity in the context of rural development. The government has introduced several cooperative programs of plantation development that involve main plantation companies called nucleus (“Inti”) and individual farmers called plasma farmers. The largely empty, isolated and underdeveloped rural areas, designated by the government as oil palm plantation development areas, are developed by state-owned enterprises (BUMNs) and/or private companies as nucleus while the local communities are developed as the plasma.

Considering that the area is still isolated, the state and private companies must open the area with access roads and bridges. In this case, they have to construct farm roads, development nucleus and plasma plantations, build employee housing, educational and health facilities, social and public facilities and maintain the young oil palm plants (Figure 1).

The development of new nucleus-plasma plantations has attracted investments from local farmers who are not part of the nucleus-plasma scheme to jointly grow oil palms on their land and these plantations are categorized as people’s plantations. The number of individual smallholder has estates grown rapidly in many places and, therefore, the areas of people’s plantations are larger than that of the nucleus-plasma plantations (PIR).

The growth of oil palm plantations, either under the nucleus-plasma scheme or by independent farmers, leads to the flourishing of small and medium cooperative (UKMK) businesses in the supply of goods and services, as well as traders of agricultural, fishery and livestock products to the oil palm plantation communities (Figure 2).

In the later stage of oil palm growth, especially after producing crude palm oil (CPO), there is the development of residential centers, offices, markets, etc. in such a way that as a whole it becomes a new agropolitan, a new agricultural town.

According to the Manpower and Transmigration Ministry (2014), by 2013 at least 50 rural and disadvantaged regions were developed into new growth areas whose basis is CPO production. They are Sungai Bahar (Jambi), Pematang Panggang and Peninjauan (South Sumatra), Arga Makmur (Bengkulu), Sungai Pasar and Lipat Kain (Riau), Paranggean (Central Kalimantan) and other areas. Most of the CPO production centers have developed into new districts or regencies in rural areas.

The following are new economic growth centers resulting from oil palm plantation development: (1) North Sumatra (Stabat, Belarang, Sei Rampah, Limapuluh, Perdagangan, Rantau Prapat, Aek Kanopan, Aek Nabara, Kota Pinang, Sosa, Sibuhuan, Panyabungan and others), (2) Riau (Pasir Pengaraian, Bangkinang, Siak Sri Indrapura, Rengat, Tembilahan, Bengkalis, Bagan Siapi-api, Teluk Kuantan, Dumai, Pekanbaru and others), (3) South Sumatra (cities like Sungai Lilin, Tugumulyo, Pematang Panggang, Bayung Lencir, Musi Rawas, Peninjauan and some cities bordering with South Sumatra, such as those from Muara Enim to Lahat), (4) Jambi (Sarolangun, Sungai Bahar, Sengeti, Kuala Tungkal and others), (5) Central Kalimantan (Sampit, Kuala Pembuang, Pangkalan Bun, Kasongan and others), (6) East Kalimantan (Sangatta, Tenggarong, Tana Pase, Tanjung Redeb, Nunukan, Sendawar and others), (7) South Kalimantan (Batulicin, Kotabaru, Pelaihari and others) and (8) Sulawesi (Mamuju, Donggala, Bungku, Luwu, Pasangkayu and others).

Thus, oil palm plantations in rural areas do not exploit rural resources but instead, through the development of the plantations, attract substantial new investment into isolated rural areas in such a way as to transform underdeveloped areas into new growth centers. This statement is also confirmed by the World Growth (2011) study, which says that oil palm plantations in Indonesia are an important part of rural development.

Sejak awalnya di tahun 1980-an, pengembangan perkebunan kelapa sawit di Indonesia baik sebagai bagian dari pembangunan pertanian maupun pengembangan daerah (transmigrasi), ditujukan untuk membuka dan membangun pusat-pusat pertumbuhan ekonomi baru di kawasan pedesaan. Daerah terbelakang, pinggiran, pelosok, terisolir, hinter land dikembangkan menjadi pusat-pusat pertumbuhan baru.

Pembangunan perkebunan kelapa sawit dalam konteks pembangunan kawasan pedesaan merupakan kegiatan ekonomi pioner. Daerah pedesaan yang umumnya masih kosong, terisolasi dan terbelakang yang ditetapkan pemerintah untuk kawasan pembangunan perkebunan kelapa sawit, dikembangkan oleh perusahaan negara/BUMN (PN) dan atau perusahaan swasta (PS) sebagai inti dan masyarakat lokal (PRP) sebagai plasma dalam suatu kerjasama PIR atau bentuk kemitraan yang lain.

Mengingat daerah yang bersangkutan masih terisolasi, maka PN/PS harus membuka jalan/jembatan masuk (acces road), pembangunan jalan usaha tani (farm road), pembangunan kebun inti dan plasma, pembangunan perumahan karyawan, fasilitas pendidikan dan kesehatan, fasilitas sosial/umum dan pemeliharaan tanaman belum menghasilkan (Gambar 1).

Berkembangnya perkebunan baru inti plasma menarik investasi petani lokal untuk ikut menanam kelapa sawit sebagai perkebunan rakyat mandiri (PR). Umumnya jumlah perkebunan rakyat ini bertumbuh cepat dalam suatu wilayah sehingga luas kebun perkebunan rakyat mandiri secara total lebih luas dari kebun pola PIR.

Pertumbuhan perkebunan kelapa sawit baik inti, plasma maupun petani mandiri mendorong berkembangnya usaha kecil-menengah-koperasi (UKMK) yang bergerak pada supplier barang/jasa industri perkotaan (SB), maupun pedagang hasil-hasil pertanian/perikanan/peternakan untuk kebutuhan pangan (SF) masyarakat perkebunan kelapa sawit (Gambar 2).

Pada tahap selanjutnya, pertumbuhan kelapa sawit khususnya setelah menghasilkan minyak sawit (CPO) di kawasan tersebut berkembang pusat-pusat pemukiman, perkantoran, pasar, dan lain-lain sedemikian rupa sehingga secara keseluruhan menjadi suatu agropolitan (kota-kota baru pertanian).

Menurut Kementerian Transmigrasi dan Tenaga Kerja (2014), sampai tahun 2013 setidaknya 50 kawasan pedesaan terbelakang/terisolir telah berkembang menjadi kawasan pertumbuhan baru dengan basis sentra produksi CPO. Antara lain Sungai Bahar (Jambi), Pematang Panggang dan Peninjauan (Sumatera Selatan), Arga Makmur (Bengkulu), Sungai Pasar dan

Lipat Kain (Riau), Paranggean (Kalimantan Tengah) dan kawasan lain. Sebagian besar dari kawasan sentra produksi CPO tersebut telah berkembang menjadi kota kecamatan dan kabupaten baru di kawasan pedesaan.

Pusat-pusat pertumbuhan ekonomi baru di daerah akibat pembangunan perkebunan sawit yakni sebagai berikut ini : (1) Provinsi Sumatera Utara (Stabat, Belarang, Sei Rampah, Limapuluh, Perdagangan, Rantau Prapat, Aek Kanopan, Aek Nabara, Kota Pinang, Sosa, Sibuhuan, Panyabungan dan lainnya), (2) Provinsi Riau (Pasir Pengaraian, Bangkinang, Siak Sri Indrapura, Rengat, Tembilahan, Bengkalis, Bagan Siapi-api, Teluk Kuantan, Dumai, Pekanbaru dan lainnya), (3) Provinsi Sumatera Selatan (Kota-kota seperti seperti Sungai Lilin, Tugumulyo, Pematang Panggang, Bayung Lencir, Musi Rawas, Peninjauan dan beberapa kota menuju kawasan barat Sumatera Selatan, antara lain dari Kota Muara Enim ke Kota Lahat), (4) Provinsi Jambi (Sarolangun, Sungai Bahar, Sengeti, Kuala Tungkal dan lainnya), (5) Provinsi Kalimantan Tengah (Sampit, Kuala Pembuang, Pangkalan Bun, Kasongan dan lainnya), (6) Provinsi Kalimantan Timur (Sangatta, Tenggarong, Tana Pase, Tanjung Redeb, Nunukan, Sendawar dan lainnya), (7) Provinsi Kalimantan Selatan (Batulicin, Kotabaru, Pelaihari dan lainnya), (8) Provinsi Sulawesi (Mamuju, Donggala, Bungku, Luwu, Pasangkayu dan lainnya).

Dengan demikian, perkebunan kelapa sawit di daerah pedesaan bukanlah mengeksploitasi sumber daya pedesaan tetapi sebaliknya melalui pengembangan perkebunan kelapa sawit menarik investasi baru yang cukup besar ke daerah terisolir di pedesaan sedemikian rupa sehingga dapat mengubah daerah terbelakang menjadi pusat pertumbuhan baru di pedesaan. Pernyataan ini juga terkonfirmasi oleh studi World Growth (2011) yang mengatakan bahwa perkebunan kelapa sawit di Indonesia bagian penting dari pembangunan pedesaan.

Figure 1 Component of early investment into oil palm plantations in rural areas

Component of early investment into oil palm plantations in rural areas

Source : PASPI, 2014

Figure 2 The process of oil palm plantation development from an isolated area into a new economic growth center

The process of oil palm plantation development from an isolated area into a new economic growth center

Source : PASPI, 2014

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