Oil palm plantations reduce rice farming in Indonesia.

Perkebunan kelapa sawit mengurangi lahan pertanian padi di Indonesia.

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The conversion of farmland, both from one commodity to another and from one sector to another, is a normal phenomenon that occurs as development progresses. Although Law No. 12/1992 on plant cultivation systems gives farmers the freedom to choose the crops to be grown, the conversion of major food lands, such as large paddy fields, could threaten the national rice production.

The extensive development of oil palm plantations in Indonesia, which is almost entirely outside of Java, has not reduced the area of rice fields. Based on 2015 data from the Agriculture Ministry, rice farming areas outside Java are likely to increase (Figure).

On the contrary, rice land on Java Island is declining because of conversion to non-agricultural sectors, such as industry, infrastructure and housing. However, the overall national rice area is still relatively stable at about 13 million hectares and it is increasing.

These data show that the expansion of oil palm plantations outside of Java as a whole did not reduce the area of rice crops. The area of rice farms outside Java is on the increase. In addition, rice land on Java Island is not part of the development area of oil palm plantations, but is declining because of conversion to the non-agricultural sector, which may be more productive.

Of course, at the regional and local level, rice farming areas are being converted into non-rice areas, including as oil palm plantations as farmers feel it is more profitable to develop non-rice businesses. The right of farmers to choose commodities and businesses that are profitable for them is protected by Law No. 12/1992. However, the overall expansion of oil palm plantations entirely outside of Java Island is also followed by expansion of rice plantation areas.

Konversi lahan pertanian baik antar komoditas maupun antar sektor merupakan fenomena normal yang terjadi seiring dengan kemajuan pembangunan. Meskipun Undang-Undang No. 12/1992 tentang Sistem Budidaya Tanaman memberikan kebebasan bagi petani untuk memilih komoditas yang ditanam, konversi lahan pangan utama yakni lahan padi yang luas dapat mengancam penyediaan beras nasional.

Perkembangan luas kebun sawit di Indonesia yang hampir seluruhnya di luar Pulau Jawa ternyata tidak mengurangi luas areal padi. Berdasarkan data Kementerian Pertanian (2015), areal pertanian padi di luar Pulau Jawa justru cenderung meningkat (Gambar).

Sebaliknya lahan padi di Pulau Jawa, justru menunjukkan kecenderungan yang menurun akibat konversi ke sektor non pertanian seperti sektor industri, infrastruktur dan perumahan. Namun secara keseluruhan luas areal padi nasional masih relatif stabil pada sekitar 13 juta hektar dengan kecenderungan yang meningkat.

Dengan data tersebut menunjukkan bahwa perluasan kebun sawit di luar Pulau Jawa secara keseluruhan tidak mengurangi luas areal tanaman padi. Luas areal padi di luar Pulau Jawa justru menunjukkan kecenderungan yang meningkat. Sebaliknya lahan padi di Pulau Jawa padahal bukan daerah pengembangan kelapa sawit justru mengalami kecenderungan yang menurun akibat konversi ke sektor non pertanian yang mungkin lebih produktif.

Tentu saja pada level daerah/lokal terjadi konversi areal pertanian padi menjadi areal non padi termasuk untuk sawit rakyat karena petani merasa lebih menguntungkan mengembangkan usaha non padi. Pilihan petani untuk memilih komoditas/usaha yang menguntungkan baginya dilindungi Undang-undang No. 12/1992 tentang Sistem Budidaya Tanaman. Namun secara keseluruhan ekspansi kebun sawit yang seluruhnya di luar Pulau Jawa, juga diikuti ekspansi areal tanaman padi.

Figure The expansion of rice fields on Java and outside Java

expansion of rice fields on Java and outside Java

Source : Agriculture Ministry

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