InfoSAWIT, JAKARTA – The allegation saying that palm oil is the cause of global deforestation, including in Indonesia, has been disproved by itself. The total area of oil palm plantations worldwide is far less compared to the total area of soybean plantations. The high productivity of the harvest in oil palm plantations becomes the main factor for the management of a sustainable oil plam plantation.
Oil palm plantations by implementing principles and criteria of sustainability, also received support from the United Nations (UN). Through United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Good Growth Green Commodity program is being implemented with aim to help improve the empowerment and productivity of oil palm farmers.
According to the Managing Director of Good Growth Green Commodity, UNDP, Pascal Bonzom, various efforts are being done for the empowerment of oil palm farmers in Indonesia. This needs assistance so it could improve the productivity of the harvest. Therefore, the best and sustainable implementation of cultivation must be done continuously.
United Nations’ involvement through UNDP, according to him, is also a part of his big task to ensure the living welfare of small farmers. “We help people, especially oil palm small farmers, who still need a lot of help and mentoring, so they can develop more sustainable products in the global market,” said Pascale.
Regarding a number of issues directed towards oil palm plantations, Pascale did not find it too troubling. Palm oil plantations are proven to be able to improve the welfare of remote people. Moreover, implementing principles and criteria of sustainability will be able to manage oil palm plantations in a way that is better and environmental-friendly.
According to a research done by UNDP, cattle farming activity is instead the one that causes forest and land deforestation to spread more in the world. Cattle farming needs land as wide as 1 hectare for cattle farming cultivation. Cattle farming activity also causes high carbon gas emission that comes from the manure.
The high carbon emission produced, and the total land area uses for cattle farming, according to Pascale, become one of the main things that cause deforestation. It can be concluded briefly that the oil palm plantation is not the cause of deforestation. It can instead improve the welfare of small farmers living the the remote area.
A similar tone was also voiced by environmental activist, Bustar Maitar. According to him, oil palm plantations have made real improvement in economy for Indonesian people. According to the Greenpeace former campaigner, oil palm plantation cultivation practice must be encouraged so it would not be involved in deforestation.
According to him, the oil palm plantation development which is based on principles and criteria of sustainability must be done in a transparent manner, so the traceability process could produce palm oil separated from deforestation. “Palm oil plantation company must be firm in stating to the public that they don’t cause deforestation,” Bustar said.
The commitment for sustainable oil palm plantation development also becomes the environment’s interest in the world. Therefore, a commitment not to cause deforestation and conduct sustainable cultivation practice become a joint solution in protecting the environment.