Optimistic! Palm Oil Operations To Stay Normal Amid COVID-19

The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) has not only affected the health of Indonesian people but also their economy. But apparently, the palm oil industry in South Kalimantan (Kalsel) has eluded such impact.

The Indonesian Palm Oil Association’s (Gapki) Kalsel Office Chief Eddy S Binthi said during an online press conference on Friday (15/5) that the palm oil activities in plantations and mills are still operating normally. The price of fresh fruit bunches (FFB) from farmers is still at between Rp1.200 – 1.300 per kg.

“We’re still operating normally, but we tighten the implementation of Covid-19 preventive protocol,” Eddy said during the online press conference on Friday.

He said that the crude palm oil production has been increasingly demanded at the world market, as has been indicated by the increase of demand at European market despite of boycotts reported by the European media. Although not as the source of energy, Europe uses the palm oil for producing sanitizers to help fight the spread of Coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

Gapki Kalsel Advisory Council Member  Totok Dewanto concurred with Eddy, saying that besides tightening the Covid-19 protocol implementation, Gapki Kalsel had also given packets of donations, such as personal protective equipment (APD), and staple foods for medical workers and people impacted by the pandemic. Gapki Kalsel had also teamed up with forest farmers group (KTH) to process the palm shells into disinfectants.

Karhutla anticipation

Besides focusing on efforts to stop the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic, Totok said that Gapki Kalsel had also taken a number of anticipative steps to prevent the forest and land fires (Karhutla) this year. “We’ve partnered with the ministry of environment and forestry to prevent the “Karhutla” this year by making artificial rains,” said Totok.

He added that drawing on last year experience when many cases of fires occurred in the lands owned by the general public, such case might pose a problem for companies.  “For this year, every member of Gapki has been given a guideline on preparations to anticipate the “Karhutla”. In addition to that, Gapki has been also strengthening cooperation with all related officials and drumming up the public support to prevent the forest and land fires,” he said. (*)

Source: Investor.id | Gapki Kalsel Optimistis Sawit Bertahan di Tengah Pandemi