The Indonesian government has been continually seeking alternative ways to meet the domestic need for beef, which is continually increasing along with the population growth.
President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has also initiated a plan to realize a beef self-sufficiency in the country, so that beef import will be no longer needed.
But apparently, several obstacles, including land problems, stand in the way of realizing it. As a result, the government has to import the beef from a number of countries, including recently from Brazil, a country in Latin America, which is very far from Indonesia.
The technology application and assessment board (BPPT), a state-run research and development institution, has offered a concept of oil palm and cattle husbandry integration system in oil palm plantations areas with specially-designed technology developed by the institution. It is especially offered for oil palm smallholders, who run small scale oil plantation areas across all provinces in Sumatra, Kalimantan, and Sulawesi.
“The technological concept of the oil palm and cattle husbandry integration system can be implemented appropriately in oil palm plantation areas. It will increase cattle production, which will then reduce imports of cattle,” BPPT deputy in charge of biotechnology and agroindustry technology, Soni Solistia Wirawan said in an interview with Tribunnews recently.
“Our local need is 720,000 tons, but only 400,000 tons can be met locally. That means, we have to import to fulfill the shortage. But if we can increase our local cattle production through the integration system, at least we can reduce the import,” Soni said.
He pointed out that the concept of oil palm and cattle farming integration has been long initiated, but apparently at that time it failed to draw high interest among oil palm smallholders.
It was because the smallholders feared that the cattle project is potential to reduce their production or even damage their oil palm plantations. “The smallholders fear that it will damage oil palm trees and the land areas, so then palm oil production will decrease,” Soni said.
He said that now the BPPT has offered the integration concept that is considered able to benefit the smallholders. “The smallholders have warmly welcomed the concept,” he said.
He said that a pilot project of oil palm and cattle husbandry integration system is already implemented under a partnership with the regency government of Pelalawan in Beringin village, Pelalawan regency of Riau. “It’s been developed and already inaugurated. Hundreds of cattle are being raised there. Hopefully, it will stand as a model of oil palm and cattle farming integration system that can be developed in other areas,” he added.
According to him, the pilot project will also produce quality fodder made from the oil palm wastes. It is also expected that the government and the private sector and the cattle farmers will be able to develop a synergy to further develop the oil palm and cattle farming integration system through further research and assessment. The integration system is predicted to be able to cut the cost of fodder up to 30 percent as the animal feed can be produced from the oil palm leaves and wastes resulted from the palm oil production process. (*)