President Appreciates Vaccinations In Oil Palm Plantations

JAKARTA — President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) said that acceleration of Covid-19 vaccinations badly needs the support of all components of Indonesian society, including the Indonesian Palm Oil Association (Gapki).

“I really appreciate the initiative to accelerate the Covid-19 vaccinations for  7.0 million people in oil palm plantations and surrounding areas,” President Jokowi said during the virtual opening ceremony of the vaccination movement for 7.0 million people in oil palm plantations and surrounding areas on Friday, 24 September 2021.

President admitted that plantations and agriculture sectors play a very important role in such movement. “The palm oil industry plays a very important and strategic role, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic as together with agricultural sectors the palm oil sector is still growing positively while the other economic sectors are still struggling to survive the impacts of the pandemic,” he asserted.

President said that the vaccination by the government cannot stand alone and it needs public support to stop the spread of the pandemic. “We aim this acceleration and expansion of vaccinations to meet our target that 70% Indonesians should be vaccinated by the end of this year,” he said.

“We could not yet predict when the Covid-19 pandemic will end. It’s impossible to eradicate it totally. So, the government with the support of all society components has to control the spread of Covid-19 pandemic,” said President.

Gapki Chairman Joko Supriyono said that the palm oil industry has been continually keeping its positive performance as the backbone of Indonesian economy amid the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic. Gapki has even predicted that foreign exchange from palm oil exports in 2021 will reach US$29 billion or more than Rp400 trillion.

Joko noted that the operation of oil palm plantations is relatively normal with strict discipline of health protocols implementation during the pandemic. As a result, all plantation growers and workers, as well as people living around the plantation areas continue to get good income, especially because the price of fresh fruit bunches is relatively high.

“We support the government’s policy to accelerate the vaccinations, especially people in plantation areas and surrounding areas,” Joko said.

He noted that the vaccination movement will increase the herd immunity in the oil palm plantation sector and across its supply chains. “The vaccinations will also ensure and accelerate the economic recovery in regions. That means the implementation of replanting program can be proceeding well as expected,” he said.

Since 13 January 2021, the government has been working day and night to implement the mass vaccinations all across the country so that all people, including all seniors, people with disabilities, and pregnant mothers are protected from the pandemic.

The opening ceremony of the 7 million vaccinations, which was organized by PROJO and Gapki, was also attended by national police commander-in-chief General Listyo Sigit Prabowo, Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin, Gapki Chairman Joko Supriyono, Deputy Minister of Villages and Least Developed Areas Budi Arie Setiadi, and governors of 17 provinces as the locations of the vaccinations in Sumatera, Java, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, and Papua. (*)