The Sweetest Business Prospect of the Palm Oil Brown Sugar
During this time, many people think that palm oil is only a producer of Crude Palm Oil (CPO) which is then processed into various products ranging from cooking oil, margarine, cosmetics, and other products. But the palm oil is a plant that has multiple benefits and versatile. Not only the fruit, but all parts of palm oil can be used as a variety of products that we can use every day.
One part of oil palm that can be used in addition to the fruit is the oil palm trunk. The trunks have several contents including cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin, ash, and other extractive materials. In addition to being processed as raw material for furniture and building materials, palm oil stems containing palm juice can also be used as raw materials for palm oil brown sugar.
Currently, brown sugar is one of the food that have a very good economic prospect. As we see on social media, various food preparations are now becoming more popular by adding brown sugar in various food and beverage products. One of them is a coffee product with the addition of brown sugar so that it attracts and high demand by consumers, especially millennials.
Indonesian people only know that brown sugar is produced from palm trees, whereas brown sugar can also be produced from oil palm trees. The quality of palm oil brown sugar is also not lower than palm brown sugar from palm tree. Oil palm juice making has also been cultivated by farmers in Ghana since 1958. According to Suwandi research (1994), oil palm juice is a source of vitamin B complex and carbohydrates and is also enriched with fat and protein.
The process of processing palm sugar is quite simple and easy without the need to use modern and sophisticated technology. The making of palm sugar starts from cutting down old, unproductive oil palm trunks, then the top is skinned until it appears white. Oil palm juice that has been tapped or removed from the shoots is then filtered to remove impurities or insects that are carried from the garden. Then the oil palm juice cooked using a cauldron until the water content disappears and the texture of the sap thickens and forms smooth foam. The next step is to enter the sugar with a ratio of 1:2 or 1:3 or 1:4, depending on the low quality. This aims to increase the hardness so that the texture of palm oil brown sugar after forming becomes denser.
Each oil palm thrunks is able to produce average 300 liters of oil palm juice which can be processed into about 60 kg of palm oil brown sugar in the form of molds. Even farmers in Lau Tador Village succeeded in producing 5-7 liters of oil palm juice/trunk/day. This means that with the production period per tree for 30-40 days outside of the tapping period which takes 2-3 days, and then the production of oil palm juice is relatively the same as the production of palm juice.
Based on the results of the economic feasibility analysis of palm oil brown sugar, assuming: (1) the production phase for 30 days; (2) 1 hectare consists of 120 trees with 5.5 liter oil palm juice; (3) the ratio of sugar and oil palm juice as much as 1:2; and (4) palm oil brown sugar production in these phase of 223 kg/day/hectare, so the potential economic value obtained from the manufacture of palm oil brown sugar is quite large, reaching Rp. 18.4 million per hectare to Rp. 22.9 million per hectare. Meanwhile, the economic value of unprocessed palm oil thrunk is only Rp. 1.8 million per hectare. This shows that the palm sugar business is very profitable to be developed.
The amount of potential generated in the manufacture of palm oil brown sugar and the abundance of old oil palm stems as raw material for oil palm sugar can be a source of income for farmers during replanting, especially at the age of immature plants. However, a large scale of production (plantation area) is needed so that the profit potential is higher. This means that more farmers are involved in this business, but it can also have potential risk of business palm oil brown sugar being failure. The alternative is the production of palm oil brown sugar can be managed by cooperation or organaztion oil palm farmers smallholders. The cooperative institution will be focus on palm oil brown sugar business on producing until marketing the products.
The sweetest business prospect of palm oil brown sugar b can not only be enjoyed by oil palm farmers, millennials who have the desire to jump into the oil palm industry or become palm oil entrepreneurs (or sawitpreneur) can also grasp this business opportunity. With the innovation and creativity possessed by the sawitpreneur, they can build business systems and supply chain channels that adjust to the preferences of consumers in this digital age.
The palm oil brown sugar business can also be developed through a partnership and profit sharing system between sawitpreneur as palm oil brown sugar entrepreneurs and farmers who have plantations and palm trees. Sawitpreneur can buy oil palm trunks to be uprooted and carry out a well-organized felling process. Oil palm farmers can also benefit by not spending the cost of cutting down palm trees and obtaining compensation for oil palm trunks and sharing profits from the sale of palm oil brown sugar. With this pattern, the sweetness of oil palm brown sugar not only creates higher income for sawitpreneur and oil palm farmers, but this industry will develop into an inclusive economic sector.
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