The Jakarta Post
A smear campaign against the national palm-oil industry is underway, the Indonesian Palm Oil Producers Association (GAPKI) has claimed, as pictures went viral on social media showing young palm trees planted on the newly burned forest.
GAPKI's head of land and spatial division Eddy Martono said that the smear campaign had been launched against the palm oil industry as it was the most profitable and economical vegetable-oil, with productivity level of six tons per hectare, far beyond the soy bean's productivity at one ton per hectare.
"The smoke is still rising, but the palm trees have already been planted. This is very strange. Based on cultivation techniques, it is not possible to plant the young palm trees [on such land], as they would wither. Something is hidden, and I have no idea what it is," he said as quoted by kompas.com on Sunday.
The palm-oil association, he further said, would investigate whether the campaign was aimed to fuel the haze crisis, or to strike Indonesia's efficient palm oil industry.
The cost of clearing one hectare of soybean plantation was enough to open up to 10 hectares of palm oil plantation In Indonesia, Eddy said.
Eddy speculated the smear campaign would be followed by a call to boycott Indonesian palm oil and its derivative products. Besides soybean, the palm oil industry competes with other vegetable oils such as corn oil, sunflower oil, and rapeseed oil.
"Do not consume palm oil products, buy other vegetable oils instead. That is the objective. If we're not cautious, the government may follow the drum they beat," he said.
Based on GAPKI's data, there were 1,000 palm oil refineries in Indonesia producing 30 million tons of CPO per year. Olein is CPO's derivative product, which has the biggest market; five million to six million tons sold to the local market per annum, and 15 million to 20 million tons exported per year.
Olein is popularly known as a raw material of margarine, cosmetics and many pharmaceutical drugs.
According to GAPKI, Indonesian CPO production is expected to reach 40 million metric tons this year, compared with 32 million tons in 2014. Malaysia produced 19.8 million tons of CPO in 2014.
Indonesia and Malaysia control 85 percent of the global supply of palm oil. (ags/dan)
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