Palm oil production in East and North Kalimantan has continued to increase year to year thanks to the regions' aggressive expansion of oil palm plantations.
"Oil palm plantation areas last year reached about 1 million hectares [ha], more than double than in 2008. Last year's production of fresh fruit bunches [TBS] and crude palm oil [CPO] reached 6.5 million tons and 1.4 million tons, respectively, up from only 1.6 million tons of TBS and 366,149 tons of CPO in 2008," Etnawati Usman, head of East Kalimantan Plantation Agency, said in Samarinda on Monday as quoted by Antara news agency.
However, according to Etnawati, the production of TBS and CPO has not yet reached its potential as about 50 percent of oil palm trees were still young and not yet productive. They are due to be harvested within the next two years or by 2016.
Another reason, she said, was the domination of the coal mining industry in East Kalimantan. "Many people still consider coal mining to be more prospective economically. Such a consideration is a barrier to the expansion of oil palm plantations," Etnawati said.
'We hope there will be investors who are interested in developing the downstream palm oil industry to further progress CPO production,' she added. (yln)