Draft Regulation of Job Creation Law Expected Become a Way Out for Smallholder’s Oil Palm Plantation Legality

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Oil palm smallholder farmers are one of the most important actors in the national palm oil industry mega-sector. Their share reaches 41 percent of the total area of ​​ oil palm plantations in India. The number of smallholder farmers also reaches 2.6 million people. This shows that oil palm plantations are the basis of a communities economy that has been proven to create inclusive social-economic benefits such as increasing income and welfare, so that they are able to become the locomotive for regional economy and contribute to national economic development.

Smallholders
Source: monitorriau.com

However, beyond contributions they have made, the smallholder farmers have to face problems that continue to shackle and threaten their existence, namely the legality status of plantations that are claimed in forest areas. This problem is faced by millions of independent farmers who have independently developed oil palm plantations since decades ago.

Rural communities who become oil palm farmers have become a unitary ecosystem with the forest and they do not know the boundaries of forest areas, so they consider the surrounding forests has belong to rural/customary communities, one of which can be used for oil palm plantations. However, along with spatial planning and forest use policies that often changing, the land is claimed as a forest area so that farmer’s plantations are considered illegal.

APKASINDO data shows that around 3.2 million hectares of farmer’s plantations are claimed to be in forest areas or the area of ​​about 48 percent of total area of ​oil palm ​farmer’s plantations. This causes them difficulty to access various sources of capital/credit and participate in palm oil development programs such as PSR (replanting) and ISPO. This legality problem is still being used by local “unscrupulous” to exploit farmers for discount their FFB’s price. In addition, this is also often “fried” by anti-palm oil parties to spreading a black campaign attacking the palm oil industry. Therefore, it is necessary to immediately look for policy formulations that can be implemented to solve that problem.

The issuance of the Job Creation Law as an “omnibus” for simplifying regulations with the aims of easing the investment and creating job opportunities, so that it is hoped that it will be a solution and bring convenience to economic actors, including solving the smallholder farmer’s plantations from the problem of claiming forest area status. However, the spirit of the Job Creation Law is considered to contradict with the derivative product of the Draft Government Regulation (RPP) related to the certainty settlement of smallholder farmer’s oil palm plantation in the forestry and plantation sector, because it is considered burdens farmers.

APKASINDO has raised several points of objection to draft regulation. They are related to the settlement of claims on farmer’s plantations with a maximum area of ​​5 hectares in forest area that has been detemined, and the farmers are required to have a business license related to their location and business field.

This shows that draft regulation has closed opportunities for farmers who have oil palm plantations with an area of ​​6-25 hectares to obtain the release of forest areas. The draft regulation also contradicts Law no. 39/2014 concerning Plantation, which categorizes the farmer’s plantation area as less or equal to 25 hectares.

In addition, the enactment of the draft regulation requires the government to identify and verify the fulfillment of oil palm plantation, so that it will have an impact on costs, long time and also have the potential to attract transaction practices that are detrimental to smallholders. In fact, the settlement of farmer’s problem related claim in forest area must be immdediately.

The next point regarding settlement claims of oil palm plantations in forest areas will only be resolved if the forest area has gone through a designation process. In fact, many oil palm plantations are claimed to be in forest areas, but the forest status of has not yet reached the stage of determining forest areas. Indonesian Forestry Scholar Association (Persaki) Expert Council, DR. Petrus Gunarso, also questioned what percentage of forests in Indonesia had actually been confirmed and declared as permanent forests.

In the draft regulation is also a requirement for farmers to have business permits which are limited to location permits and business permits in the plantation sector. In fact, so far, oil palm farmers do not have this permit because it is not required based on previous regulations such as the Plantation Law or the Minister of Agriculture Regulation. Even in rural communities, the social legality of a plantation land is only based on the recognition of the community/neighbors.

Do not let the smallholder famers feel that the Indonesian government has abandoned them because there is no solution to problems that have long shackled them. The governments of other countries and the international community pay attention to the welfare of smallholder oil palm farmers. However, this is in contrast to the government in this country which issued a policy but has not been able to solve the problem of claim farmer’s plantations, in fact this policy is even burdening them.

The Indonesian government should support and defend the interests of smallholder farmers oil palm plantations by creating solutions to their problems. Draft regulation of Job Creation Law should still be hopeful by presenting a solution in the form of a short, easy, and inexpensive settlement mechanism as the philosophy of that law.

The regulation in question is in the form of a policy to exclude existing smallholder farmer oil palm plantations from forest areas and recognizing permit letters/certificates that have been owned by farmers such as Cultivation Registration Certificates (STDB), Customary Rights, Evidence of Planters’ Land Sale and Purchase, and other evidence recognized by the community and local customary law which are issued before the enactment of the Job Creation Law.

 

By resolving the problem of claims for farmer’s plantations in forest areas so that the legality can be “clean and clear”, it will bring enormous benefits to the development of oil palm plantations in Indonesia. Farmers will have access to capital and market because the legality of their land and business is guaranteed. They also can participate in the replanting program (PSR) and sustainable certification (ISPO). These benefits will lead to an increase in the welfare of oil palm farmers, which will drive the regional and national economies. At the same time also improving the image and prove to anti-palm oil NGOs that oil palm plantations in Indonesia are sustainable.

Petani sawit adalah salah satu aktor yang cukup penting dalam megasektor industri sawit nasional. Pangsa luas perkebunan sawit rakyat mencapai 41 persen terhadap total luas perkebunan sawit Indonesia. Jumlah pekebun sawit di Indonesia juga mencapai 2.6 juta orang. Data diatas menunjukkan bahwa perkebunan sawit merupakan basis ekonomi kerakyatan yang telah terbukti menciptakan manfaat ekonomi sosial yang inklusif seperti meningkatkan pendapatan dan kesejahteraan hingga mampu menjadi lokomotif penggerak ekonomi daerah dan turut berkontribusi terhadap pembangunan perekonomian nasional.

Smallholders
Source: monitorriau.com

Namun dibalik besarnya kontribusi yang diberikan, pekebun sawit rakyat menghadapi masalah yang terus membelenggu dan mengancam eksistensinya yaitu status legalitas perkebunan yang diklaim masuk ke dalam kawasan hutan. Masalah tersebut banyak dihadapi oleh jutaan pekebun sawit swadaya yang secara mandiri membangun kebun sawit sejak puluhan tahun lalu.

Masyarakat pedesaan yang menjadi pekebun sawit telah menjadi satu kesatuan ekosistem dengan hutan dan tidak mengenal batas-batas kawasan hutan. Sehingga mereka menganggap hutan disekitarnya bagian dari milik komunitas masyarakat pedesaan/adat yang dapat dimanfaatkan salah satunya untuk perkebunan sawit. Namun, seiring dengan kebijakan tata ruang dan tata guna hutan yang sering kali berubah-ubah menyebabkan lahan tersebut diklaim sebagai kawasan hutan sehingga perkebunan milik rakyat dianggap ilegal.

Data APKASINDO menunjukkan bahwa sekitar 3.2 juta hektar kebun sawit rakyat diklaim berada di kawasan hutan, atau luasnya sekitar 48 persen dari luas kebun sawit rakyat. Kondisi tersebut menyebabkan sulitnya pekebun sawit dalam mengakses berbagai sumber modal/kredit dan mengikuti program pengembangan sawit seperti PSR dan ISPO. Masalah legalitas ini juga masih seiring digunakan oleh “oknum” lokal untuk mengeksploitasi pekebun sawit untuk memotong harga TBS. Selain itu, masalah klaim kebun sawit berada di kawasan hutan juga sering “digoreng” oleh pihak anti sawit untuk melancarkan black campaign yang menyerang industri sawit. Oleh karena itu, perlu segera dicarikan formulasi kebijakan yang bisa diimplementasikan untuk menyelesaikan masalah tersebut.

Diterbitkannya UU Cipta Kerja sebagai regulasi “sapu jagad” yang menyederhanakan regulasi dengan tujuan untuk mempermudah investasi dan menciptakan peluang kerja sehingga diharapkan akan menjadi solusi dan membawa kemudahan bagi pelaku ekonomi, termasuk membebaskan perkebunan sawit rakyat dari masalah klaim status kawasan hutan. Namun, semangat UU Cipta Kerja tersebut dinilai bertolak belakang dengan produk turunan Rancangan Peraturan Pemerintah (RPP) terkait kepastian penyelesaian lahan perkebunan sawit rakyat pada sektor kehutanan dan perkebunan, karena dianggap membebani pekebun sawit rakyat.

APKASINDO telah mengajukan beberapa poin keberatan terhadap RPP tersebut. Beberapa poin yang dianggap memberatkan pekebun sawit tersebut adalah terkait dengan penyelesaian klaim pada perkebunan rakyat yang luasnya paling banyak 5 hektar yang berada di kawasan hutan yang telah penetapan, serta pekebun diharuskan untuk memiliki izin berusaha terkait lokasi dan bidang usaha.

Hal ini menunjukkan, RPP telah menutup peluang pekebun sawit yang memiliki perkebunan sawit dengan luas lahan 6-25 hektar untuk memperoleh pelepasan kawasan hutan. Aturan RPP tersebut juga kontradiktif dengan UU No. 39/2014 tentang Perkebunan, yang telah mengkategorikan luas perkebunan rakyat kurang atau sama dengan 25 hektar.

Selain itu, disahkannya RPP tersebut mengharuskan pemerintah untuk mengidentifikasi dan memverifikasi pemenuhan syarat luas kebun sawit tersebut sehingga akan berdampak pada besarnya biaya dan waktu yang lama serta berpotensi mengundang praktik transaksi yang merugikan pekebun. Padahal masalah klaim perkebunan sawit rakyat di kawasan hutan ini harus segera diselesaikan.

Poin selanjutnya terkait klaim perkebunan sawit dalam kawasan hutan hanya akan diselesaikan jika kawasan hutan tersebut sudah melalui proses penetapan. Faktanya, banyak perkebunan sawit yang diklaim berada dikawasan hutan, namun status kawasan tersebut belum mencapai tahap penetapan kawasan hutan. Dewan Pakar Persatuan Sarjana Kehutanan Indonesia (Persaki), DR. Petrus Gunarso, juga mempertanyakan berapa persen sebenarnya hutan di Indonesia yang sudah dikukuhkan dan dinyatakan sebagai hutan tetap.

Dalam RPP tersebut juga terdapat keharusan pekebun untuk memiliki Perizinan Berusaha yang hanya terbatas pada Izin Lokasi dan Izin Usaha di bidang Perkebunan.  Padahal, selama ini pekebun sawit tidak memiliki izin tersebut karena memang tidak diwajikan berdasarkan regulasi sebelumnya seperti UU Perkebunan atau Peraturan Menteri Pertanian. Bahkan pada masyarakat pedesaan, legalitas sosial terhadap suatu lahan perkebunan hanya berdasarkan pengakuan masyarakat/tetangga.

Jangan biarkan pekebun sawit rakyat merasa dianaktirikan oleh Pemerintah Indonesia karena belum adanya solusi atas permasalahan yang telah lama membelenggu mereka. Pemerintah negara lain dan dunia internasional memberikan perhatian bagi kemajuan dan kesejahteraan pekebun sawit rakyat. Hal tersebut bertolak belakang dengan pemerintah di negeri sendiri yang mengeluarkan kebijakan namun belum mampu menyelesaikan permasalahan klaim perkebunan sawit rakyat, bahkan kebijakan tersebut malah membebani pekebun sawit.

Seharusnya Pemerintah Indonesia mendukung dan membela kepentingan perkebunan sawit rakyat dengan menciptakan solusi atas permasalahan yang dihadapi. Seyogyanya, RPP Cipta Kerja masih menjadi harapan dengan menghadirkan solusi berupa mekanisme penyelesaian yang singkat, mudah dan murah sebagaimana filosofi dari UU tersebut. Regulasi yang dimaksud berupa kebijakan untuk mengeluarkan perkebunan sawit rakyat eksisting dari kawasan hutan dan mengakui surat/sertifikat perizinan yang selama ini telah dimiliki oleh pekebun seperti Surat Tanda Daftar Budidaya (STDB), Hak-Hak Adat, Tanda Bukti Jual Beli Lahan Pekebun dan tanda bukti lainnya yang diakui oleh masyarakat hukum adat setempat yang terbit sebelum berlakunya UU Cipta Kerja.

Dengan terselesaikannya masalah klaim perkebunan sawit rakyat di dalam kawasan hutan sehingga legalitasnya dapat “clean and clear”, akan membawa manfaat yang sangat besar bagi perkembangan perkebunan sawit di Indonesia. Pekebun sawit akan memiliki akses pemodalan dan akses pemasaran karena legalitas lahan dan usahanya terjamin. Pekebun sawit rakyat dapat turut berpartisipasi dalam program peremajaan (PSR) dan sertifikasi berkelanjutan (ISPO). 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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