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Jakarta Post

Palm oil smallholders pushed to adopt sustainable practices over environmental concerns

  • Ardila Syakriah

    The Jakarta Post

PREMIUM
Jakarta   /   Tue, August 27, 2019   /  05:17 pm
The Jakarta Post Image
A palm-oil plantation in Dumai, Riau, on Aug. 9.(Antara Photo/Rony Muharrman)

Having relied on oil palms to earn a living for decades, it never occurred to Sartono, 51, that he and hundreds of other small-scale farmers in his village in West Kotawaringin regency, Central Kalimantan, had been doing things the wrong way. Starting from planting to repelling pests and harvesting, many of them used to rely on word-of-mouth information circulating around the then-novice farmers. As a result, the yields of their fresh fruit bunches (FFBs) yields could only total about 15 tons per hectare per year, far less than the 30 tons per ha commonly achieved by large plantation firms. However, that all changed when the smallholders, who commonly own about 2 ha of land, started receiving training in 2017 with the help of an NGO. Although they were reluctant at first since they couldn't see any immediate results from the training, smallholders in Sartono's village of...

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