The Chairman of APKASINDO Offers the Latest Breakthrough on the Legality of Smallholder’s Oil Palm Plantations in the Forest Area

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The revolutionary development of smallholder oil palm plantation has succeeded in bringing Indonesia to become the largest palm oil producer in the world. The contribution of smallholders to the village and regional economy is also unquestionable. Smallholder oil palm plantations, whether initiated by corporations (private and owned-state) in the form of plasma or independently, have succeeded in driving the wheels of the village economy so that it has an impact on increasing community income in an inclusive manner.

However, behind the large contribution that has been given, a number of problems haunt and even threaten the existence of smallholder oil palm plantations. The problem in question is the legality of the land, where their plantations are suspected to be in forest areas. This legality issue must be immediately resolved by the government, considering that this problem is an obstacle to the implementation of sustainable palm oil development programs such as PSR and ISPO.


The agenda for resolving legality issues in oil palm plantations in the forest area is accommodated in Presidential Instruction (Inpres) Number 8 of 2018 concerning the palm oil moratorium. In this Presidential Instruction, the President instructed the Ministry of Environment and Forestry to identify oil palm plantations located in forest areas and carry out improvements to oil palm land.

Based on information from the Directorate General of Forestry Planning and Environmental at the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Dr. Ir. Ruandha Agung S, M.Sc, revealed that the Ministry of Environment and Forestry has identified and the results indicate an area of ​​3.37 million hectares, both oil palm plantations owned by corporations and smallholders. Meanwhile, regarding the improvement of oil palm land, only 713,000 hectares of oil palm plantations have a clear status. This means that there are still around 2.6 million hectares of oil palm plantations in forest areas whose legal issues have not been resolved even though the Presidential Instruction on the Moratorium expired last September.

APKASINDO estimates that out of around 3.37 million hectares of oil palm plantations located in forest areas, around 2.78 million hectares of them are smallholder plantations. The unclear status of smallholder oil palm plantations will affect the palm oil supply chain, which is estimated to reach 8 million tons annually.

In addition to the disruption of the PSR and ISPO programs, the legality of smallholder plantations that have not been resolved will also have adverse impacts, such as increasing unemployment and urbanization of residents, as well as creating social, economic and environmental vulnerabilities (forest fires).

The issuance of the Job Creation Law and its law derivative regulations is expected to be a solution to resolve the legality problem of smallholder oil palm plantations, which are indicated to be in forest areas. However, since these regulations were issued, the resolution of the legality problem for people’s palm oil plantations is still questionable.

From anxiety based on land legality issues faced by smallholders, Gulat Manurung, who is the chairman of APKASINDO, conducted his study related to the model for solving the legality problem of smallholder oil palm plantations. This topic succeeded in making him the fastest graduate of the Doctoral Program at the University of Riau with a dissertation entitled “A Model of Conflict Resolution of Smallholder Oil Palm Plantations in the Forest Area of ​​Riau Province.


Before providing a breakthrough in solving the problem of smallholder oil palm plantations in forest areas, Dr. Cn Ir. Gulat ME Manurung, MP, CAPO, discusses the solution to the legality as stated in the Job Creation Law and its law derivative products. In the regulation, there are 4 typologies for resolving the legality of smallholder oil palm plantations, namely:

The first typology is a smallholder who is in a forest area but has a cultivation registration certificate (STDB). Then it can be resolved (excluded from the forest area) through the mechanism of Article 110A after paying the fee of the Forest Resources Provision – Reforestation Fund.

The second typology is a smallholder who is in a forest area but does not have an STDB. Then they are obliged to pay an administrative fine as stipulated in Article 110B. After the fine is paid, the government gives them a permit to continue plantation activities in a production forest area for 1 (cycle) or 20 years. However, if the plantation is in a Protected Forest and Conservation Forest Area, then the area must be returned to the state.

The third typology is a smallholder who has a plantation of a maximum of 5 hectares and resides continuously in or around a forest area for a minimum of 5 years. If the oil palm plantation is located in a Production Forest and has been cultivated for more than 20 years, then the area is removed from the forest area.

And the fourth typology, namely for smallholder who already have a land certificate but are claimed in a forest area, is solved by removing the plot of land from the forest area through changing the boundaries of the forest area.

Only typology 1 and 2 are available to smallholders, though there are some questions regarding STDB and the obligation to live in the plantation. STDB itself is not a permit for oil palm farmers to cultivate their oil palm plantations and is only a record (statistics) that has been implemented since 2018.

The obligation to live in the plantation (forest area) is also not possible because it keeps farmers from accessing public facilities such as schools and health centers. In addition, these typologies also do not accommodate realities on the ground, such as land ownership letters (SKT, SKGR) issued by village and sub-district governments.

Gulat Manurung considers that the Job Creation Law and its law derivative products have not been able to solve the legality problem of smallholder oil palm plantations in forest areas as a whole. Therefore, through his dissertation, the chairman of DPP APKASINDO created a new typology called typology 5 to solve this problem.

In typology 5, there are criteria for oil palm smallholder, namely not having STDB but having valid land ownership certificates, not living in the plantation, forest area status has not yet been determined, the cultiviation of oil palm plantations before the Job Creation Law was issued, does not overlap with permits, and the extent of ownership is not more than 25 Ha. If the above criteria are complied with, the plantation can be removed from the forest area.

The typology is considered to have fulfilled the benefits aspect because the plantations that have been developed have certainly produced economic benefits for both themselves and the surrounding community. By applying this typology, justice aspects can also be achieved because forest area claims have not yet reached the stage of forest area determination. If typology 5 can be implemented, then at least 78% of oil palm plantation legality problems from 3.37 million hectares in this forest area can be solved.

Hopefully, this additional solution will provide a bright spot for solving the legality problem of smallholder oil palm plantations in forest areas. Smallholders can participate in the replanting program (PSR) and sustainable certification (ISPO), as well as have capital and market access because the legality of their land and business is guaranteed. These benefits will lead to an increase in the welfare of smallholders, which in turn will drive the regional and national economy. It also improves the image and proves to anti-palm NGOs that palm oil plantations in Indonesia are sustainable.

Perkembangan sawit rakyat yang sangat revolusioner berhasil membawa Indonesia menjadi produsen minyak sawit terbesar di dunia. Kontribusi petani sawit rakyat terhadap perekonomian desa dan daerah juga tidak perlu diragukan lagi. Perkebunan sawit rakyat baik yang dinisiasi oleh korporasi (negara dan swasta) dalam bentuk plasma maupun secara mandiri/swadaya berhasil menggerakkan roda perekonomian desa sehingga berdampak pada peningkatan pendapatan masyarakat secara inklusif.

Namun dibalik besarnya kontribusi yang telah diberikan, setumpuk masalah menghantui bahkan mengancam eksistensi perkebunan sawit rakyat. Masalah yang dimaksud adalah legalitas lahan, dimana perkebunan sawit rakyat diduga berada di dalam kawasan hutan. Masalah legalitas ini harus segera diselesaikan oleh pemerintah, mengingat masalah ini jadi penghambat pelaksanaan program pengembangan sawit rakyat yang berkelanjutan seperti PSR dan ISPO.


Agenda penyelesaian masalah legalitas pada perkebunan sawit dalam kawasan hutan sudah diakomodir dalam Instruksi Presiden (Inpres) No. 8 Tahun 2018 tentang moratorium sawit. Dalam Inpres tersebut, Presiden menginstruksikan kepada KLHK untu melakukan identifikasi kebun sawit yang berada di kawasan hutan dan melakukan pembenahan lahan sawit.

Berdasarkan informasi Dirjen Planologi Kehutanan dan Tata Lingkungan KLHK, Dr. Ir. Ruandha Agung S, M.Sc, mengungkapkan bahwa KLHK telah melakukan identifikasi dan hasilnya terindikasi areal seluas 3.37 juta hektar baik perkebunan sawit milik korporasi maupun rakyat yang masuk ke dalam kawasan hutan. Sementara itu, terkait pembenahan status lahan sawit baru sekitar 713 ribu hektar kebun sawit yang statusnya sudah clear. Artinya masih ada sekitar 2.6 juta hektar kebun sawit di kawasan hutan yang belum terselesaikan masalah legalitasnya padahal Inpres Moratorium telah berakhir pada September lalu.

APKASINDO memperkirakan dari sekitar 3.37 juta hektar perkebunan sawit berada di dalam kawasan hutan, sekitar 2.78 juta hektar diantaranya merupakan perkebunan sawit rakyat. Status lahan perkebunan sawit rakyat yang belum jelas ini akan mempengaruhi rantai pasok sawit yang diperkirakan mencapai 8 juta ton setiap tahunnya. Selain terganggunya program PSR dan ISPO, legalitas sawit rakyat yang belum terselesaikan juga akan menimbulkan dampak yang merugikan seperti meningkatkan penggangguran dan urbanisasi penduduk ke kota untuk mencari pekerjaan serta memunculkan kerawanan sosial, ekonomi dan lingkungan (kebakaran hutan).

Diterbitkannya UU Cipta Kerja dan peraturan turunannya yang diharapkan mampu menjadi solusi bagi kemudahan penyelesaian masalah legalitas perkebunan sawit rakyat yang terindikasi berada dalam kawasan hutan. Namun, sejak UU Cipta Kerja dan Peraturan Pemerintah sebagai produk turunan UUCK diterbitkan, penyelesaian masalah legalitas kebun sawit rakyat ini juga masih dipertanyakan.

Berangkat dari keresahan atas masalah legalitas lahan yang dihadapi oleh para petani sawit rakyat, Gulat Manurung yang merupakan ketua DPP APKASINDO melakukan studi terkait model penyelesaian masalah legalitas perkebunan sawit rakyat. Dengan topiknya tersebut berhasil mengantarkannya menjadi lulusan tercepat Program Doktoral Universitas Riau dengan disertasi yang berjudul “Model Resolusi Konflik Lahan Perkebunan Kelapa Sawit Rakyat dalam Kawasan Hutan Provinsi Riau”.

Sebelum memberikan terobosan dalam penyelesaian masalah perkebunan sawit rakyat di dalam kawasan hutan, Dr. Cn Ir. Gulat ME Manurung, MP, CAPO, membedah penyelesaian masalah legalitas sawit rakyat yang tertuang dalam UUCK dan produk turunannya. Dalam regulasi tersebut, tersedia 4 tipologi penyelesaian permasalahan legalitas perkebunan sawit rakyat tersebut yaitu:

Tipologi Pertama adalah pekebun (petani sawit rakyat) yang dalam kawasan hutan tapi memiliki STDB, maka dapat diselesaikan (dikeluarkan dari Kawasan hutan) melalui mekanisme Pasal 110A setelah membayar biaya PSDH-DR (Provisi Sumber Daya Hutan – Dana Reboisasi).

Tipologi Kedua adalah pekebun yang dalam kawasan hutan tapi tidak memiliki STDB, maka dia wajib membayar denda administrasi sebagaimana ketentuan Pasal 110B, kemudian setelah denda tersebut dibayar, pemerintah memberikan izin untuk melanjutkan kegiatan perkebunan di kawasan hutan produksi selama 1 (daur) atau 20 tahun. Namunm jika kebunnya berada di Kawasan Hutan Lindung dan Hutan Konservasi, maka areal tersebut wajib dikembalikan kepada negara.

Tipologi Ketiga adalah pekebun yang memiliki kebun paling banyak 5 hektar dan bertempat tinggal secara terus-menerus di dalam atau sekitar kawasan hutan paling singkat 5 tahun. Apabila kebun sawit tersebut berada di Hutan Produksi dan sudah dikuasai lebih dari 20 tahun, maka areal tersebut dikeluarkan dari Kawasan hutan.

Dan Tipologi Keempat yaitu bagi pekebun yang sudah memiliki Sertifikat Hak Atas Tanah namun diklaim dalam Kawasan hutan, maka permasalahan ini diselesaikan dengan cara mengeluarkan bidang tanah dari kawasan hutan melalui perubahan batas kawasan hutan.

Dari keempat tipologi tersebut, hanya tipologi 1 dan 2 yang memungkinkan bagi petani sawit, meskipun terdapat hal yang menjadi pertanyaan yakni terkait STDB dan wajib tinggal di kebun. STDB sendiri bukan merupakan izin petani sawit dalam membudidayakan perkebunan sawitnya dan sifatnya hanya pencatatan (statistik) yang baru berlaku tahun 2018.

Kewajiban tinggal di kebun (kawasan hutan) juga tidak memungkinkan karena menjauhkan akses petani terhadap fasilitas umum seperti sekolah dan puskesmas. Selain itu, tipologi tersebut juga tidak mengakomodir realita di lapangan seperti surat kepemilikkan tanah (SKT, SKGR) yang dikeluarkan oleh pemerintah desa dan kecamatan.

Gulat Manurung menilai bahwa UUCK dan produk turunannya belum mampu menyelesaikan masalah legalitas perkebunan sawit rakyat dalam kawasan hutan secara keseluruhan. Oleh karena itu melalui disertasinya, Ketum DPP APKASINDO ini membuat 1 tipologi baru yang disebut tipologi 5 untuk menyelesaikan permasalahan kebun sawit dalam kawasan hutan.

Dalam tipologi 5 terdapat kriteria pekebun sawit yaitu tidak memiliki STDB namun memiliki keabsahan surat kepemilikan tanah, tidak tinggal di kebun, status kawasan hutan belum sampai ke penetapan, tertanam sawitnya sebelum UUCK terbit, tidak tumpang tindih dengan izin, dan luasnya perkepemilikan tidak lebih dari 25 ha. Jika memenuhi kriteria diatas, maka kebun tersebut dapat dikeluarkan dari kawasan hutan.

Tipologi tersebut dipandang telah memenuhi aspek manfaat karena kebun yang telah terbangun tersebut tentu telah menghasilkan manfaat ekonomi baik untuk pekebun maupun masyarakat sekitar. Dengan menerapkan tipologi ini, juga dapat tercapainya aspek keadilan karena klaim kawasan hutan belum sampai pada tahap penetapan kawasan hutan. Jika tipologi 5 dapat dilaksanakan, maka paling tidak sekitar 78% persoalan sawit dari 3.37 juta hektar dalam kawasan hutan ini dapat diselesaikan.

Semoga dengan adanya solusi tambahan ini dapat memberikan titik terang bagi penyelesaian permasalahan legalitas perkebunan sawit rakyat di kawasan hutan. Petani sawit rakyat dapat turut berpartisipasi dalam program peremajaan (PSR) dan sertifikasi berkelanjutan (ISPO) serta memiliki akses pemodalan dan akses pemasaran karena legalitas lahan dan usahanya terjamin. Manfaat-manfaat tersebut akan bermuara pada peningkatan kesejahteraan pekebun sawit rakyat, yang pada akhirnya akan menggerakkan perekonomian daerah dan nasional. Sekaligus juga memperbaiki citra dan pembuktian kepada LSM anti sawit bahwa perkebunan sawit di Indonesia berkelanjutan.

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