Replanting (PSR) Programme Becomes Upgrade Moment for Smallholder Farmers
The smallholder farmers with their oil palm plantations have succeeded in bringing Indonesia to become the largest palm oil-producer country in the world, as well as the largest vegetable oil-producer in the world. The world economists, before the 1980s, did not expect that the farmers would be able to participate in oil palm plantations, because they needed capital and speciality techniques, and the farmers did not have this. However, because of a partnership program initiated by Indonesia Government, smallholder farmers plantations have succeeded to grow until now the area of 5.82 million hectares or its share has reached 41 percent of the total national oil palm plantation area.
Smallholder farmers plantations have also played a role as a locomotive that drives the regional economy so it can increase regional district’s economic income and reduce poverty levels to create new economic centers as agropolitan (new agricultural cities) based on oil palm plantations in remote areas.
However, oil palm farmers especially around 2.1 million independent farmers, face various serious problems, one of which is low productivity. Based on the Palm Oil Statistics data, the level of smallholder palm oil productivity is the lowest when compared to state and private plantations. The use of ilegitim (less superior) oil palm seeds that can be accessed easily and cheaply by independent farmers and technical culture hasn’t optimal, could be a factors that causes low productivity in smallholder farmer’s plantation. If this problem isn’t resolved immediately, it will threaten the sustainability of Indonesia’s palm oil supply.
To encourage increasing productivity of smallholder oil palm plantations, the Indonesian government implements replanting programme namely Peremajaan Sawit Rakyat (PSR). Replanting referred replacing oil palm plants that are no longer productive/economical (> 25 years) or low productivity (<10 tons of FFB/ha/year) with superior seeds and the optimalize implementation of technical culture (Good Agriculture Practices/GAP).
The government has replanting target on PSR programme around 2.49 million hectares of farmer’s oil palm plantations during the 2017-2022 period. Based on data from the Directorate General of Plantations at the Ministry of Agriculture, the realization of smallholder oil palm plantations that have received technical recommendations for the PSR program is relatively low, reaching only 136 thousand hectares during the 2017-2019, and the area of farmer’s plantation that has received a transfer from BPDPKS only of 106 thousand hectares during the period.
Meanwhile, the realization of technical recommendations until October 19th this year was 60 thousand hectares. This shows that the realization of PSR is still far from the target, so the government has lowered the PSR target from 200 thousand hectares per year to 180 thousand hectares per year.
To accelerate the realization of the program, BPDPKS increased PSR grants from IDR 25 million per hectare to IDR 30 million/hectare for farmers with a maximum plantation area of 4 hectares. In addition, support from the Government for the success of the programme can also be seen from the simplifications of the PSR’s requirements, from 14 requirements to 8 requirements and now only 2 requirements, namely land legality and institutions.
Although there are still various obstacles in increasing the realization of PSR, such as the legality issue of smallholders plantations that have not been resolved, but this program must still be considered as a milestone in the development of the national palm oil industry. The targets and realization of the PSR program are not just numbers that show the success of the program. More than that, this programme is an important momentum for smallholder farmers to upgraded and transformed into a better one. Through the PSR programme, farmers can use superior seeds and apply technical culture cultivation according GAP, so that they can increase the productivity of their plantations to be equivalent to the productivity level of plantation companies.
The momentum of replantation is very important in an effort to maintain Indonesia’s strategic position as the largest palm oil producer in the world, and also responding to demands for the fulfillment of sustainability aspects. The PSR programme is also in line with the implementation of a moratorium of oil palm plantation areas as stipulated in Presidential Instruction No. 8/2018 as a form of the Indonesian government’s efforts in implementing the good governance of the national palm oil industry, which is expected can counter negative issues that have attacked the national palm oil industry, such as causes of deforestation and environmental damage.
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