Indonesia: Palm oil producers call for government support 5 Oct 15;

The Indonesian Palm Oil Producers Association (Gapki) says the government should provide support and pay close attention to the national palm oil industry to ensure that it continues to grow in the midst of the country’s economic slowdown.

“There should be supports from the government so that this industry can survive and dominate the international market,” said Gapki chairman Joko Supriyono as quoted by Antara news agency in Jakarta on Monday.

He said the ongoing fluctuations of the rupiah exchange rate had hurt palm oil companies in Indonesia, especially those with huge US-dollar debts.

“In the current slowing economic condition, many business players are tightening their belts, thus, we need support from the government,” he added.

Meanwhile, Palm Oil Agribusiness Strategic Policy Institute (Paspi) executive director Tungkot Sipayung said palm oil companies had always been blamed as parties most responsible for land and forest fires.

He said the government needed to thoroughly check their sources before naming palm oil companies and their officials suspects in land and forest fire cases.

“Land and forest fires have brought losses upon all parties. This is a fact we have to be aware of. The incidents are triggered by a range of factors such as existing regulations that allow land clearing using risky slash and burn practices, problems in the management of state forests and the current long dry spell,” said Tungkot.

Among the relevant regulations are Law No.32/2009 on environmental protection and management, which allows local people possessing 2-hectare or smaller plots of land to open their land using the slash and burn method, he added. (ebf)