Indonesia’s Minister of Agriculture Suswono has praised sustainable palm oil practice in Dosan village, and says this initiative is a perfect example of the way large palm oil producers can remain profitable without further destroying the forests.
During a visit with Greenpeace Indonesia to Dosan Village in Riau Province on Thursday, Suswono said sustainable palm oil practices could help dispel the negative image of palm oil producers as companies that damage the environment.
“A couple months ago I promised Greenpeace that I would visit this showcase of good palm oil practice. This project proves that sustainable palm oil is possible, and will go a long way to challenge the negative image of the Indonesian palm oil industry that currently exists in some importer countries,” Suswono said.
“The level of production from smallholders is obviously still very small compared to the large scale palm oil industry. But this project shows that increased productivity means palm oil plantations do not need to expand further.”
a sustainable way forward
Since February 2011 farmers in Dosan village, together with local government and civil society have worked to develop a sustainable palm plantation and protect the remaining forest surrounding their village from expansion.
“Greenpeace challenges the Government to use what is happening in Dosan village as a model of economic development in the wider agricultural and palm oil sector. It offers a solution to improving local livelihoods without violating the President’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Rusmadya Maharuddin, Greenpeace Forest Campaigner said.
“We are committed to develop palm plantation with environmental friendly standards. Moving from using chemical to organic fertilizer, intensifying plantation productivity and at the same time protecting our remaining forest in the Dragon lake. This commitment has already put legally in our village regulation,” Firdaus, Head of Dosan Village said.
Riau-based NGO Perkumpulan Elang and Greenpeace Indonesia supported the innovative approach of the Dosan farmers, providing a mentoring program for small scale palm oil plantations, as well as promoting responsible plantation management in seven other villages in Siak District.
“Gaining support for these products from the international market is important to strengthen the bargaining position of independent smallholders in the palm oil sector industry,” said Riko Kurniawan, Perkumpulan Elang Director.
Hundreds of orangutans, including the rare Sumatran orangutan, are believed to have died in fires deliberately lit by palm oil companies. Image: © Greenpeace / Vinai Dithajohn