Indonesia kicks off palm oil replanting to boost yields


Indonesia aims to replant about 20,000 hectares (49,400 acres) of smallholder palm plantations this year, under a government scheme aimed at boosting flagging yields, the agriculture ministry's director general of estate crops said on Wednesday.

President Joko Widodo launched the scheme, funded by a levy on crude palm oil (CPO), last week in South Sumatra as the world's biggest palm oil producer tries to squeeze more output from existing plantations.

"There are 2.4 million hectares that need to be replanted. About 400,000 hectares are old crops, and the rest are not using proper seedlings," said the director general, Bambang, who uses one name like many Indonesians.

Currently, smallholder plantations yield 2 tonnes of CPO per year, but yields could increase to 8 tonnes per year if replanted using better seedlings, he told reporters.

The replanted seedlings could start production within two years, he added.

Plantations that received funding through this scheme will have to meet the requirements to receive Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) certification.

ISPO is a government certification programme that is mandatory for companies, but voluntary for smallholders. It requires that land is legally owned, does not encroach on forest areas and uses good agriculture practices without burning.

Indonesia has come under pressure from activists and a growing number of purchasing countries to improve the sustainability of palm oil production and curb forest loss.

Indonesia has 11.9 million hectares of palm oil plantation out of which 4.7 million hectares are smallholder plantations, according to ministry data.


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