Challenges on Increasing Indonesian Palm Oil Production in 2021
Growth production of Indonesian palm oil in 2021 is estimated to has increased with higher than growth production in 2019-2020. Although palm oil production in last year slightly increased by only 0.43 percent, the increase in production in the second half of 2020 was quite significant and is expected to continue to increase until 2021.
GAPKI Vice Chairman III, Togar Sitanggang, projects that Indonesia’s palm oil (CPO) production in 2021 will reach 49 million tons, or will increase by 3.5 percent from 47.4 million tons of CPO production in 2020.
In line with Togar Sitanggang, IOPRI’s researchers also estimate that CPO production in 2021 will increase to 48.40 million tons. This production’s projection was accomodated assumptions such as crop composition, land suitability class, climatic conditions, fertilization, and other assumptions (oil extract rate).
One of the factors that are driving the growth of Indonesia’s palm oil production, which is estimated to be higher than previous year is due to the favorable climate.
La Nina climate anomaly, which is indicated by high rainfall intensity, has occurred in Indonesia since the end of 2020 and is expected to end in May 2021. Even though La Nina occurred at the beginning of the year, the climate in Indonesia is predicted to be normal because the IOD is in the normal range.
The Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency (Badan Meteorologi Klimatologi dan Geofisika/BMKG) predicts that several regions in Indonesia such as North Kalimantan, parts of Sulawesi, parts of Maluku & North Maluku, northern West Papua, and central Papua will enter the dry season in May – July 2021. In line with BMKG, season and climate projection data by North American Multi-Model Ensemble (NMME) predicts that dry season (normal cycle) in Indonesia’s climate since July 2021.
Agro-climate Researchers in IOPRI also predict that Indonesia will experience a wet-dry season, where there is a dry season but the rainfall intensity is still high as a impact of La Nina. These conditions are a favorable climate for oil palm plants due to sufficient water availability and solar radiation needed by plants. The implication of this climate condition is increasing productivity.
Although climatic conditions with relatively high rainfall are favorable for oil palm plant, this is also a challenge faced by oil palm plantation actors. Damaged road infrastructure that connects the plantation and mill, hampered fruit harvesting activities, and floods that occur in the plantation have the potential to reduce palm oil production.
Other challenges in palm oil production in this year with wet climate conditions related in fertilization activities. The high price of palm oil in the second half of 2020 and the estimated to continue until the first quarter of 2021 is an incentive for oil palm plantation actors to improve technical culture, such as increasing the use of fertilizers. However, due to a constrained by high rainfall, the fertilization process must be delayed and even required modification of fertilizer application method to avoid carrying fertilizer with rainwater in plantations (surface run-off).
The outbreak of pests and diseases that attack oil palm plants is also a challenge in increasing palm oil production in 2021. Agus Eko Prasetyo M.Si, one of IOPRI’s researcher in the plant protection grup, revealed that Ganoderma is still the most frightening specter for oil palm plantations in Indonesia. Because until now it has not been able to be controlled massively due to soil-borne pathogens are difficult to control and only depends on preventive efforts such as stem decomposition, root stem sanitation, and biological control. In addition, Oryctes Rhinoceros is also predicted to still be a deadly threat to oil palm plants in the replanting phase.
Agus also advised that oil palm plantation actors must also be aware of the attack of Rhynchophorus spp and Sparganobasis subcruciata (muzzle beetle), which in the larval phase bores the stems of plants and can cause plant death. A plant disease that must also be watched out is sprear rot disease that attacks in the immature plant and early mature plant phases and have a much more severe impact than Ganoderma.
The solution needed to answer the challenges, especially those related to outbreak of pests and diseases attack oil palm plants, is to carry out an early warning system continuously with an economically and ecologically appropriate pest and disease management program. In addition, applying technical culture according to standards (Good Agricultural Practices) is also the key to maintaining plant health. However, if there has been an attack by pests or diseases, it is necessary to introduce integrated pest management (IPM) technology based on agroecosystems.
Other PPKS researchers, Dr. Winarna, on the same webinar Klinik Sawit, also mentioned other challenges that are faced by oil palm plantation actors in the order to increasing Indonesian palm oil production in 2021, namely the problem of low fruitset, decreased soil quality, and availability of labor, especially labour in harvest period.
It is expected, that oil palm plantation actors both companies and oil palm farmers, have prepared strategies to face and mitigate challenges in increasing palm oil production. Support from the Indonesian Government, especially related ministries and institutions such as the Ministry of Agriculture and BPDPKS, is needed by oil palm farmers to answer these production challenges. So that these mitigation efforts can have implications for an increase in the volume of palm oil production in 2021, which is as predicted, or even higher than the prediction.
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