The Strength Imunity of Palm Oil Industry as a Locomotive Economy in The Pandemic Covid-19

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Like a trains, the palm oil industry has been transformed into a locomotive that capable of pull others economic sectors behind it such as the financial services sector, trade services, transportation services, etc. The economic pull generated by palm oil industry is able to produce a contribution to the Indonesian economy. In fact, the Indonesian palm oil industry is also able to drive other country economy, through exports to fulfill the needs of the world community. This shows that the palm oil industry is one of the economic sectors that is inclusive.

 

Source: rtands.com

In the Covid-19 pandemic, many industries were affected by the decline in economic activity such as the production process that stops temporarily and laid off workers. However, until now this impact has not been felt by palm oil industry, especially at the plantation. In fact, the role of the palm oil industry as the locomotive of Indonesia’s economy still exists amid the threat of the Covid-19 outbreak. The operations of the palm oil industry, both at the upstream and downstream levels, are still running normally to fulfill both domestic and export needs.

Oil palm plantations as the spearhead of the palm oil industry are quite advantageous because of its location in remote areas and far from the city center, so as to minimize the interaction at risk of Corona virus infection. In addition, the work patterns in oil palm plantations also have been spaced out different from the work patterns in factories, so the workers at plantation have done physical distancing. Although it is relatively safe from the Corona virus, the operations of oil palm plantations in both the smallholders and companies plantation still adhere to government’s recommendations such as minimizing physical contact, maintaining distance and maintaining personal hygiene by washing hands.

palm oil
Source: Warta Ekonomi

The price of FFB smallholder farmers at the beginning of Ramadan is around Rp 1,250-1,700 per kilogram. This price is better if compared to the beginning of Ramadan in 2019 around Rp 800-1,350 per kilogram, so it becomes an incentive for farmers to continue to operate their oil palm plantations and harvest FFB. Meanwhile, until now, no oil palm company has closed or laid off its employees. APKASINDO officials also reported that there were additional workers in oil palm plantations from people who had previously worked in the non-pal oil industry that was laid-off by their company.

The farmers and the palm oil industry also have the support from local government. One of them is Rokan Hulu Riau Regent who issued a Surat Edaran  to ensure that the Palm Oil Factory (PKS) in that area continues to operate to receive FFB from smallholder farmers in the the Covid-19 pandemic with still following government directives (Health Prototype). It is intended that the wheels of the people’s economy continue to spin and not be affected by the Corona outbreak. The continued operation of Oil Palm Factory is also a signal for palm oil farmers to continue gardening and harvesting FFB.

Meanwhile at the downstream industry level, there is an increase in demand for palm oil to fulfill both food and non-food needs. Increased demand for palm oil raw materials by the food industry to produce more palm-based food products such as cooking oil, margarine, biscuits, chocolate and others. The increasing production of palm-based food is to fulfill the needs of the Indonesian people in Ramadhan and Eid Fitr.

Source: bpdp.or.id

Increased demand for palm oil also comes from the surfactant industry. The high demand for surfactants (soap and hand sanitizers) in an effort to prevent Covid-19 transmission, also has an impact on increasing demand for palm oil-based glyserin. In addition, the performance of palm oil downstreaming remains optimal, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, is the implication of B30 policy implementation. The development of palm biodiesel with the B30 policy is able to absorb 10 million tons of palm oil as raw material.

When compared with the performance of palm oil downstreaming that was able to survive in the pandemic, on the contrary the performance of palm oil products export in the January-February 2020. Based on GAPKI data, exports of palm oil and its derivatives decreased by 20 percent compared to January-February 2019. Even though the foreign exchange of palm oil exports declined, the palm oil industry still contributed to foreign exchange of USD 3.5 billion so that Indonesia’s trade balance remained in surplus.

The greater contribution of the palm oil industry as an economic locomotive amid the Covid-19 pandemic showed that the industry’s “immunity” is quite strong. The operation of the palm oil industry is expected to be able to strengthen the rural and regional economy, fulfill domestic needs and secure Indonesia’s trade balance amid the weakening world economic situation due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Ibarat suatu rangkaian kereta api, industri sawit telah menjelma menjadi lokomotif yang mampu menarik sektor-sektor perekonomian dibelakangnya seperti sektor jasa keuangan, jasa perdagangan, jasa transportasi dll. Tarikan ekonomi yang dihasilkan oleh industri sawit mampu menghasilkan kontribusi terhadap perekonomian Indonesia. Bahkan, industri sawit Indonesia juga mampu mengerakkan perekonomian negara lain melalui ekspor untuk memenuhi kebutuhan masyarakat dunia. Hal ini menunjukkan bahwa industri sawit adalahan salah satu sektor ekonomi yang bersifat inklusif.

Source: rtands.com

Di tengah pandemi Covid-19, banyak industri yang terkena dampak dari penurunan kegiatan ekonomi seperti terhentinya kegiatan produksi hingga “merumahkan” tenaga kerja. Namun, hingga saat ini dampak tersebut belum dirasakan oleh industri sawit khususnya level perkebunan. Bahkan, peran industri sawit sebagai lokomotif ekonomi Indonesia tetap eksis di tengah ancaman wabah Covid-19. Operasional industri sawit baik pada level hulu hingga hilir masih tetap berjalan normal baik untuk memenuhi kebutuhan dalam negeri maupun ekspor.

Kebun sawit sebagai ujung tombak industri sawit cukup diuntungkan karena letaknya yang berada di pelosok daerah yang jauh dari pusat kota, Selain itu, pola kerja di kebun sawit yang sudah berjarak berbeda dengan pola kerja di pabrik-pabrik, artinya telah menerapkan himbauan untuk physical distancing. Meskipun relatif aman dari virus Corona, namun operasional kebun sawit baik pada rakyat maupun perusahaan perkebunan tetap mematuhi anjuran pemerintah seperti meminimalisir kontak fisik, menjaga jarak dan menjaga higenitas diri dengan mencuci tangan.

Source: Warta Ekonomi

Harga TBS petani sawit rakyat di awal Ramadhan ini berkisar Rp 1,250-1,700 per kilogram. Harga ini sehingga dapat meminimalisir interaksi yang beresiko terinfeksinya virus Corona. lebih baik jika dibandingkan awal Ramadhan tahun 2019 sekitar Rp 800-1,350 per kilogram, sehingga menjadi insentif bagi petani sawit untuk tetap mengoperasikan kebun sawitnya dan memanen TBS. Sementara itu hingga saat ini, perusahaan perkebunan sawit belum ada yang tutup atau melakukan PHK terhadap karyawannya. Pengurus APKASINDO juga melaporkan ada tambahan tenaga kerja di perkebunan sawit yang berasal dari masyarakat yang sebelumnya bekerja di industri non sawit yang dirumahkan.

Pada tingkat PKS, pemerintah daerah juga telah memberikan dukungan terhadap industri sawit. Salah satunya Bupati Rokan Hulu Riau menerbitkan Surat Edaran yang memastikan Pabrik Kelapa Sawit (PKS) di daerahnya tetap beroperasi untuk menerima TBS dari petani rakyat di tengah kondisi pandemi Covid-19 dengan Protap Kesehatan. Hal ini bertujuan agar roda perekonomian rakyat terus berputar dan tidak terkena dampak akibat wabah Corona. Tetap beroperasinya PKS juga menjadi signal bagi petani sawit untuk terus berkebun dan memanen TBS.

Sementara itu di level industri hilir, terjadi peningkatan permintaan minyak sawit untuk memenuhi kebutuhan baik pangan maupun non pangan. Peningkatan permintaan bahan baku minyak sawit oleh industri pangan digunakan untuk memproduksi lebih banyak produk pangan berbasis sawit seperti minyak goreng, margarin, biskuit, cokelat dan lain-lain. Peningakatan produksi pangan berbasis sawit tersebut untuk memenuhi kebutuhan masyarakat Indonesia yang sedang menjalankan puasa Ramadhan dan Idul Fitri.

Source: bpdp.or.id

Peningkatan permintaan minyak sawit juga berasal dari industri surfaktan. Kebutuhan surfaktan (sabun dan hand sanitizer) yang tinggi sebagai upaya untuk mencegah penularan Covid-19, juga berdampak pada peningkatan permintaan glyserin berbasis minyak sawit. Selain itu, kinerja hilirisasi sawit masih tetap optimal di tengah pandemi Covid-19 merupakan implikasi dari implementasi kebijakan B30. Pengembangangan biodiesel sawit dengan kebijakan B30 mampu menyerap 10 juta ton minyak sawit sebagai bahan baku.

Jika dibandingkan dengan kinerja hilirisasi sawit yang mampu bertahan di tengah pandemi, sebaliknya kinerja ekspor produk sawit periode Januari-Februari 2020. Berdasarkan data GAPKI, ekspor sawit dan produk turunannya mengalami penurunan sebesar 20 persen dibandingkan Januari-Februari 2019. Meskipun devisa ekspor sawit mengalami penurunan, namun industri sawit masih berkontribusi menyumbang devisa sebesar USD 3.5 miliar sehingga neraca perdagangan Indonesia masih tetap surplus.

Besarnya peran industri minyak sawit sebagai lokomotif ekonomi di tengah pandemi Covid-19 menunjukkan bahwa “imunitas” industri ini cukup kuat. Operasional industri sawit diharapkan mampu menguatkan perekonomian desa dan daerah, memenuhi kebutuhan domestik dan mengamankan neraca perdagangan Indonesia di tengah situasi ekonomi dunia yang melemah akibat outbreak Covid-19.

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