The Large Amount of Economics Benefit from Replanting Oil Palm Plantation
In the past decade, anti-palm NGOs have carried out black campaigns using environmental issues to attack the Indonesian palm oil industry. The expansion of oil palm plantations is considered a major cause of deforestation in Indonesia and the world. The black campaign succeeded in attracting the sympathy of world consumers to cause various boycotts of palm oil products and creates bad image of indonesia’s palm oil industry. On the other hand, the world community will increasingly depend on palm oil both to meet food and energy needs. It is estimated that global demand for palm oil in 2050 will reach 156 million tons.
To fulfill the world’s large demand for palm oil, Indonesia as the world’s leading producer of palm oil must increase its production. However, the increase production of palm oil is no longer produced through extensification or expansion of the area of oil palm plantations. Because of to avoid land use originating from forests (deforestation), the implementation of a moratorium policy and land limitations.
In addition to extensification, an increasing production of palm oil can also be done through intensification or increased productivity in oil palm plantations that can be carried out by technical culture and replanting. Technical culture or improvement of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) is carried out on oil palm plantations that are still in economic age (<25 years). Meanwhile, replanting is done by replacing oil palm plants that are no longer productive/economic age (age> 25 years) or low productivity (<10 tons of FFB/ha/year).
The process of cutting down palm trees and replanting them using superior seeds does seem “deadly” to the oil palm plantation business. Farmers or oil palm companies must wait at least 4 years for oil palm plants to be fruitful so they can provide benefits. This means that as long as the oil palm plantations have not produced during the replanting period, the producers do not receive revenue. This has become one of the demotivations, especially for farmers who depend their economies on oil palm plantations.
This assumption is not entirely correct. Replanting of oil palm plants have not been able to be harvested in the Immature Plant phase at least fot 3 years, but oil palm producers especially farmers earns revenues in the initial replanting period both from the waste management nor polyculture.
Old oil palm trunks that are cut down in the replanting process do not immediately become useless waste. The oil palm trunk has a hidden economic potential. The juice contained in old oil palm trunks can continue to be processed into oil palm brown sugar. The economic value of palm oil brown sugar can provide a net income of around Rp 18-22 million per hectare. The extraction of sap from palm oil stems alco can reduces the attack of the hornbill beetle (Oryctes rhynoceros), which has been frequently attacking oil palm plants in initial replanting period.
The oil palm trunks can also be used as raw materials for furniture/furniture, plywood and flooring. The price of oil palm trunks is also not far compared to the price of natural wood. The quality of oil palm trunks is also the same as second-class wood like Meranti and if preserved, it will further enhance the strength and quality of oil palm trunks. Besides that, the motif of the trunk is also unique, so that it has a atractive for buyer.
The researchers showed that oil palm trunks can be used for building materials. A good part of this is the third outer of the trunk – the quality is equivalent to sengon wood. To make oil palm trunks have good quality as in building materials and furniture, special treatment is needed. The treatment which includes sawing by means of Modified Round Sawing (MRS) and the provision of additive phenol resin by compregnation can improve the quality of oil palm trunks so that they are suitable as building materials.
Indonesian Oil Palm Reserach Institute (IOPRI) estimated revenue of oil palm trunks both of furniture or building material reached Rp 12 million. In addition to being brown sugar, wood furniture and building materials, the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI) once claimed that the fiber in oil palm trunks could be processed into bioethanol and coal substitute pellets.
Another oil palm waste that can be utilized in the replanting process is the palm fronds/leaves. Not only at replanting periode, housewives of oil palm planters have also utilized palm fronds/leaves which are processed into broom sticks. The economic value of the broom sticks from the oil palm fronds/leaves reached Rp 2500-4500 per piece, and not only marketed in the local market but has also penetrated the export market. The stick from the oil palm fronds/leaves can also be further processed into beautiful woven plates. The price of the woven plate reached Rp 8000 per piece.
Polyculture on oil palm plantations at the age of TBM (<4 years) can also be used as a source of income for farmers. Short-term seasonal species that have the potential to grow well according to the conditions in oil palm plantations and can be intercroping with oil palm include corn, upland rice, peanuts, soybeans, horticultural crops (shallots, water spinach, mustard greens, watermelons, bananas, and others). Polyculture or intercroping is not only a source of additional income for farmers, but also acts as a cover crop.
Researchers at the Litbang Pertanian revealed that the average income generated by farmeres who cultivated corn on replanting land reached Rp 17.4 million per hectare per planting season with a selling price of corn of Rp. 4,350 per kg. Meanwhile, the income of farmers from soybean cultivation is R. 3.98 million per hectare per planting season with a selling price of soybeans of Rp 7,000 per kg.
The large amount of economic benefits that have been disclosed above, can be a source of revenue for farmers during the replanting period especially at the age of immature plants. Even the economic potential is greater than BPDPKS grants for the PSR program of Rp 25 million per hectare. This information can also be a motivation for farmers who are still afraid of not getting income when replanting. Thus, it is expected that the replantinf realization can be fulfilled the governement’s target, so that the sustainability of Indonesia’s palm oil production can be maintained and fulfilled throught sustainable cultivitation as well.
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