Jakarta. Partnerships with communities are essential for developing the future of the palm oil sector, Joko Supriyono, chairman of the Coalition of Palm Oil Business Owners, or Gapki, said at a forum Asian agriculture in Jakarta on Thursday (28/06).
Palm oil businesses must work together with community plantations in order to increase production, improve plantation management and quality.
"Community plantations have a pivotal role to play within the national palm oil industry," Joko said at the Asian Agriculture and Food Forum 2018 (ASAFF) at the Jakarta Convention Center.
Joko said Indonesia is still unshakable is its position as one of the largest palm oil producers in the world, with 42,04 million tons in 2017, of which 31,05 tons were exported to the international market.
"With production and exports this large, palm oil has become one of the largest contributors to the Indonesian economy, bringing in $22,9 billion," he said.
In 2017, Indonesia's biggest palm oil importers were India (7,62 million tons), the European Union (5,03 million tons), China (3,73 million tons), Africa (2,28 tons).
"There's a 5 million ton increase in the world's annual demand for bio oil. As one of the most reliable sources of bio oil, palm oil plants play a significant role in global food security," Joko said, adding that despite its importance, the Indonesian palm oil industry faces challenges such as a less-than-favorable reputation, due to debates on its sustainability, and relatively low rates of production and efficiency.
According to Joko, these increase the need of finding better ways of developing community-managed plantations and palm oil companies must foster working partnerships with them to raise production.
"Research and development programs, mechanization and means of automation need to be shared with these community plantations in order to increase their yields," Joko said.