If we compare the incomes of oil palm farming households and those of non-oil palm farmers (PASPI, 2014), generally the income of oil palm farmers is higher than that of non-oil palm farmers (Figure). On average, the income of oil palm farmers is not only higher than that of non-oil palm farmers but it also has increased more rapidly. The income of oil palm farmers increased from Rp 14 million/hectare/year (2009) to Rp 31 million/hectare/year (2013). Meanwhile, the income of non-oil palm farmers (rice farmers and rubber farmers) increased from Rp 4.6 million/hectare/year to Rp 7.2 million/hectare/year in the same period.
Other studies also prove the same thing. Higher incomes of palm oil farmers than non-oil palm farmers were also found in Stern Review (World Growth, 2011) i.e. oil palm farmers ($960-3340/ha), rubber farmers ($720/ha), rice farmers ($280/ha), cassava growers ($190/ha) and timber farmers ($1099/ha).
Thus, the development of palm oil plantations not only increases the income of oil palm farmers, but also provides middle-class incomes in rural areas.