Palm Oil Is Not Extractive Industry

Jakarta — The anti-palm-oil campaigners have always accused the palm oil industry as an extractive industry which exploits the natural resources unsustainably. But in reality, the palm oil industry is not extractive, and unlike the mining sector and other extractive industries, the palm oil industry in Indonesia is operated based on the principles of sustainability.

PASPI Monitor, an independent research institution, said in its report recently that extractive industries are industries which exploit the natural resources for commercial purposes, with very often ignoring the principles of sustainability.

Based on data from PASPI Monitor, the following evidences prove that the palm oil industry is not extractive industry.

On upstream sector, the palm oil is produced by implementing the best practices which include good plantation management and application of appropriate and innovative technology to ensure high productivity and better sustainability.

Based on data from the agriculture ministry, the average national productivity of oil palm plantations increased from 3.53 tons per hectare to 3.87 tons per hectare during the period of 2011–2018. The method used to sustainably increase productivity of palm oil includes the culture technique as part of the good agriculture practices (GAP), replanting, and the combination of the two.

On downstream sector, the production of products with higher added values proves that the palm oil industry is not an extractive industry.

PASPI Monitor said in its report that the palm oil is a versatile vegetable oil that allows it for wide variety of uses and applications. Currently, the downstream industry produces three categories of products, namely oleofood complex (for food and health products); oleochemical complex (for oleochemical peoducts, such as surfactants, biolubricants, and bioplastics); and biofuel complex (for bioenergy products as alternative to fossil fuels).” (*)