JOURNAL MONITOR EDITION 17 : MULTIFUNCTIONAL OIL PALM PLANTATIONS AS AN ANSWER TO THE ISSUE OF SUSTAINABILITY

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Oil palm plantations are considered as an economic sector that needs to be questioned about its sustainability. Its due to the widespread issue of environmental damage to human rights violations associated with oil palm plantations. This point of view of oil palm plantations is very ironic and contradicts the nature/function of plantations and agriculture as a a link between the physical natural environment and human life on planet Earth.

In concept of multifunction of agriculture, oil palm plantations as a part of agricultural sector also four main function, namely economy fuction (white function), socio-cultural function (yellow function/services), the function of water conservation (blue services), and the function of preserving natural resources (green function). In a shorter, oil palm plantation has economic, social and environmental functions, that are not owned by other sectors outside agriculture.

During the process of cultivating oil palms reaching the age of 25 years, people across generations have enjoyed the benefits of the multifunctional oil palm plantations. Even the multifunctionality of oil palm plantations is not only enjoyed by the people of Indonesia, but also enjoyed by the world community both directly and indirectly involved in the palm oil industry.

Meanwhile, the principle of sustainable development with the principle of sustainability also has dimensions/main pillars namely economy (profit), social (people), and environment (planet). If examined, the pillars in the aspect of sustainability also reflect multifunctionality in agriculture. This shows that the agriculture/plantation sector, including oil palm plantations, is a sector that contributes to sustainable development and is proven to be more sustainable compared to other sectors. Therefore, the problem of sustainability in oil palm plantations (sustainability vs unsustainability) no more questions. However, things that need to be considered related to the issue of sustainability in oil palm plantations are the issue of degree of sustainability.

With RSPO and ISPO (as well as MSPO/Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil), sustainability certification making palm oil the only vegetable oil product even the world’s agricultural products have been tested to fulfill sustainability indicators. However, the sustainability certification also has several lacknes such as being partial, confusing indicators of sustainability with sustainability so that the principle of degree of sustainability is not accommodated and confusing the domain of government with the company.

Therefore, to make the certificate of sustainability as a place to creates oil palm plantations more sustainable (not just a label) and more multifunction agriculture that can be enjoyed across generations, it is necessary to improve principles, indicators and measurement methods that integrates the principles of sustainability and multifunctionality of plantations/agriculture and by using a comprehensive and holistic approach.

Perkebunan sawit selalu dianggap sebagai suatu sektor ekonomi yang perlu dipertanyakan keberlanjutannya (sustainability). Hal ini dikarenakan maraknya isu kerusakkan lingkungan hingga pelanggaran HAM yang dikaitkan dengan perkebunan sawit. Pandangan terhadap perkebunan kelapa sawit yang demikian sangat ironis dan bertentangan dengan hakikat/fungsi perkebunan dan pertanian sebagai mata rantai penghubung antara lingkungan alam fisik dengan kehidupan manusia di planet bumi.

Dalam konsep multifungsi pertanian, perkebunan sawit sebagai bagian dari sektor pertanian juga memiliki empat fungsi penting yaitu fungsi ekonomi (white function), fungsi sosial budaya (yellow function/services), fungsi pelestarian tata air (blue services), dan fungsi pelestarian sumberdaya alam (green function). Secara lebih sederhana, perkebunan sawit memiliki fungsi ekonomi, sosial, dan lingkungan, dimana fungsi tersebut tidak dimiliki oleh sektor-sektor lain diluar pertanian.

Selama proses pembudidayaan tanaman sawit mencapai umur 25 tahun, masyarakat secara lintas generasi telah menikmati manfaat dari multifungsi perkebunan kelapa sawit tersebut. Bahkan multifungsi perkebunan kelapa sawit tersebut tidak hanya dinikmati oleh masyarakat Indonesia, melainkan juga dinikmati oleh masyarakat dunia baik yang terlibat langsung maupun tidak langsung dalam industri minyak sawit.

Sementara itu, prinsip pembangunan berkelanjutan dengan prinsip sustainability juga memiliki dimensi/pilar utama yaitu ekonomi (profit), sosial (people), dan lingkungan (planet). Jika ditelaah, pilar dalam aspek sustainability juga mencerminkan multifungsi pertanian. Hal ini menunjukkan bahwa sektor pertanian/perkebunan termasuk perkebunan sawit di dalamnya merupakan bentuk dari pembangunan berkelanjutan dan terbukti lebih sustainable dibandingkan dengan sektor-sektor lain. Oleh karena itu, masalah sustainability (sustainability vs unsustainability) pada perkebunan kelapa sawit tidak perlu dipertanyakan lagi.

Dengan sertifikasi keberlanjutan RSPO dan ISPO (maupun MSPO/Malaysian Sustainable Palm Oil ) menjadikan minyak sawit sebagai satu-satunya produk minyak nabati bahakan produk pertanian di dunia teruji telah memenuhi indikator keberlanjutannya. Namun, dalam sertifikasi keberlanjutan tersebut juga memiliki beberapa kekurangan seperti masih bersifat parsial, mencampuradukkan indikator unsustainability dengan sustainability sehingga tidak terakomodasi prinsip degree of sustainability dan mencampuradukkan ranah pemerintah dengan ranah perusahaan.

Oleh karena itu, untuk menjadikan sertifikat keberlanjutan sebagai wadah untuk membuat perkebunan sawit makin berkelanjutan (bukan hanya sekedar label) dan menciptakan multifungsi pertanian yang dapat dirasakan lintas generasi, maka diperlukan perbaikan prinsip, indikator dan metode pengukuran yang mengintegrasikan prinsip-prinsip sustainability dan multifungsi perkebunan/pertanian serta dengan menggunakan pendekatan yang komprehensif dan holistik.

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