As the world’s biggest exporter of palm oil, Indonesia plans to increase production to 42 million tons by 2020 to maintain its global lead, according to a top industry player.
Indonesian Palm Oil Producers Association (GAPKI) chairman Joko Supriyono said in New York on Wednesday that Indonesia had a lot of room to increase production, especially in improving the productivity of palm oil plantations.
“As a market leader, we will focus on increasing production. We will pursue this through increasing the productivity of our existing plantations, not through the expansion of new plantation areas,” he said during the launch of the Good Growth Partnership at the UN.
The new program, managed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), brings together an integrated approach to the sustainable production of agricultural commodities, with a focus on palm oil, beef and soy.
Joko said the productivity of smallholder plantations, which account for over 40 percent of palm oil production, was currently half or even one third of the productivity levels exhibited by corporations.
Therefore, by improving the productivity of smallholders, Indonesia will maintain its lead in the world market, he said.
“Together with the government, we are ready to help the smallholders increase their productivity,” Joko said.
Indonesia produced 35 million tons of palm oil last year, around 55 percent of global production.
Environmentalists have criticized Indonesia’s palm oil expansion over the past 20 years, which they claim has degraded forests and peat land.
Responding to the criticism, the government has halted the issuance of licenses for new plantations.
“We support the moratorium, to protect primary forests and peat land. But as an industry, we have to continue to grow,” Joko said.