The government of Berau Regency, East Kalimantan, is determined to develop a green economy through sustainable plantations. The Central Bureau of Statistics noted that until 2019, the area of palm oil plantations in Berau reached 135 million hectares. "Nevertheless, the rapid expansion of the oil palm plantation area will have a serious impact on the environment, biodiversity, and productivity of other plantation commodities," said Acting Regent of Berau (PJS) Muhammad Ramadhan who was represented by Regional Secretary of Berau Regency Muhammad Gazali when giving a speech BINGKA KALTIM webinar with the theme “Initiating a Berau Green Development Roadmap through Sustainable Commodity Investment”, on Wednesday, October 7, 2020.
According to him, this situation can occur if sustainable palm oil plantation development practices are not implemented. That's why, Acting. Regent Ramadhan appreciated the BINGKA KALTIM webinar or East Kalimantan Sustainable Commodity Talk, which was held in collaboration with the Berau Sustainable Plantation Communication Forum, the Berau Research and Development Planning Agency (Bapelitbang), the Berau District Plantation Service, and YKAN. "This sustainable development effort and work really needs support from all parties," he said. This means that local governments, development partners, plantation business players, to farmers/planters need to coordinate with each other, synchronize and communicate intensively across sectors to discuss investment in sustainable commodities.
The agricultural sector contributes 11 percent to Berau Regency's Original Regional Revenue, of which nearly 45 percent comes from the oil palm plantation sub-sector. In fact, the district which is famous as Bumi Batiwakkal is rich in other superior commodities, such as cocoa, rubber, pepper, corn, and deep coconut. However, the contribution of commodities other than palm oil has not been significant.
Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara (YKAN) conducted a number of studies on sustainable development investment strategies and businesses; increasing diversification of plantation commodities other than oil palm; and increasing supply chain productivity of various leading commodities other than palm oil. This study is expected to be a reference in formulating policies and strategies that can be put into practice at the site level for the development of sustainable superior commodities. This study is also discussed in depth in the BINGKA KALTIM webinar.
Recommendations and notes from the study include that independent smallholders in Berau have the potential to diversify oil palm by switching to cocoa and corn. Analysis from the Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) states that the use of financial instruments such as People's Business Credit, Corn Farming Insurance, Credit Guarantees, and Concession Loans can also reduce the financial risks faced by small farmers in order to finance diversification. However, to ensure that diversification does not result in deforestation, diversification needs to be carried out in the existing vacant Other Use Areas (APL).
Individual Consultant Caecilia Afra Widyastuti who researched the value chain of cocoa, rubber and pepper recommended increasing the capacity of farmers. Farmers in Berau have the potential to achieve higher incomes by increasing garden productivity, improving commodity quality through post-harvest handling that can increase added value, reduce production costs and apply intercropping plantation systems. Meanwhile, the Lapitaya Foundation recommends a green agriculture scenario, namely by increasing the productivity of the three crops, improving selling prices by targeting the premium market, and developing derivative products.
The analysis of the three studies was responded to by panelists from direct stakeholders, namely the East Kalimantan Provincial Plantation Service, Berau Plantation Service, Berau Village Community Empowerment Service (DPMK), Berau Bapelitbang and Berau Muhammadiyah College of Economics. "I hope that this discussion will generate ideas, input, and recommendations to realize the development of green plantations in Berau Regency," said Acting Regent Ramadhan in his remarks.
Respons positif datang dari Kepala Dinas Perkebunan Provinsi Kalimantan Timur Ujang Rachmad yang menyampaikan bahwa studi yang disampaikan sudah sejalan dengan arah kebijakan dan strategi Dinas Perkebunan Provinsi. Poin-poin studi juga ditemukan dalam dokumen kebijakan dinas perkebunan provinsi, antara lain perihal diversifikasi dan peningkatan harga jual komoditas di tingkat petani. Ujang menambahkan bahwa semua penelitian ini perlu direplikasi, serta scalling-up atau diperluas ruang lingkupnya ke skala provinsi.
Head of the Berau Bapelitbang Agus Wahyudi explained that Berau's Teknocratic Regional Medium-Term Development Plan (RPJMD) has formulated in detail the efforts for sustainable plantations as an effort to transform the green economy. "It is clear that in the future the economy in Berau will transform from mining to a sustainable one," said Agus. Agus Wahyudi's statement was reinforced by a response from the Head of the Berau Plantation Service, Amran Arief. According to Amran, the district government is currently processing a sustainable plantation master plan based on smallholder corporations. This idea is in line with the Central Government's mandate that at least every province has two farmer corporations that can be used as a means of technology, innovation, and promotion. The Village-Owned Enterprises will be the model for smallholder corporations in Berau. "We have supported the use of the Village Fund Budget for the development of Commodity BUMKam," said Head of Berau DPMK Ilyas Natsir.
Tentang Forum KPB Berau
Wadah multipihak yang bertugas memberikan rekomendasi penyelesaian permasalahan perkebunan bersifat lintas sektor. Forum ini dapat membantu Pemerintah Kabupaten Berau dalam memberikan rekomendasi strategis untuk ditindaklanjuti oleh dinas teknis terkait dalam sektor perkebunan.
Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara (YKAN) is a scientific-based non-profit organization that has been present in Indonesia since 2014. With the mission of protecting lands and waters as life support systems, we provide innovative solutions to realize the harmony of nature and humans through effective natural resource management, prioritizing a non-confrontational approach, and building a network of partnerships with all stakeholders for a sustainable Indonesia. For more information, visit ykan.or.id.