The Jakarta Post
Environmentalists have called on the government to fulfill its promise to strictly regulate crude palm oil (CPO) production to assure that the major export commodity is developed based on principals of sustainability.
“Palm oil can be good for Indonesia but only if there are substantial improvements in forest governance and if the sustainability in its production can be verified,” said Indah Fatinaware, executive director of Sawit Watch, a member of the NGO Coalition on Palm Oil.
Indah and other environmentalists responded to the government highlighting a report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) last week that said oil palm was most efficient crop in terms of land use compared to other vegetable oil crops.
“We do not deny that oil palm is one of the most efficient crops in terms of the land area needed. The problem is that historically, palm oil has been produced by clearing millions of hectares of natural forest and carbon-rich peatland,” Indah added.
M. Teguh Surya, an executive director at the Madani Foundation, called on the government to implement a palm oil moratorium, strengthen the Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil System (ISPO) standard and prioritize the CPO fund to support smallholders to practice sustainable production methods.
In response to the IUCN report, Coordinating Economic Minister Darmin Nasution stressed the importance of supporting CPO because palm oil production “is better for wildlife and biodiversity compared to other vegetable oils as it uses less land.”
However, the NGO Coalition on Palm Oil called on the government to also pay attention to recommendations from the IUCN, such as the need for the government to implement stronger standardization criteria for sustainable palm oil. (bbn)