The Indonesian Palm Oil Entrepreneurs Association (Gapki) confirmed that as many as 700,000 thousand hectares (Ha) of oil palm land in forest areas have received Cultivation Rights or HGU. Thus, the oil palm land has received bleaching status.
Gapki General Chair Eddy Martono said that the land had received HGU status from the Ministry of ATR/BPN, so the land was no longer a forest area.
“We have received a statement from ATR that if the HGU is outside the forest area, there is no problem,” he stressed on the sidelines of IPOC 2023, Friday (3/11/2023).
If we refer to Gapki’s latest data, the amount of land that has received HGU has reached 722,079 Ha. This land comes from 380 companies.
Previously, on a different occasion, Eddy conveyed that there was a wrong narrative regarding the government’s plan to whitewash or legalize 3.3 million hectares of oil palm plantations which had been located in forest areas.
The narrative that has developed in society today says that the 3.3 million ha of oil palm plantations that will be whitewashed are considered detrimental to the country. However, according to Eddy, this is not the case.
“What is bothering us, the narrative out there is that 3.3 million hectares were whitewashed. What happened is not like that, that narrative has been formed until I saw the podcast of former KPK chairman Abraham Samad with the labor union, as if 3.3 million “ha costs the country tens of trillions per month or per day,” said Eddy.
Gapki believes that narratives that consider the 3.3 million hectares of bleached palm oil plantations to be forest areas and detrimental to the country must be straightened out.
“Even though what happened in a forest area was included in the HGU. Narratives like this must be straightened out. Don’t let the palm oil industry be told it is causing losses of hundreds of trillions,” he said.
This land status ‘whitening’ program was conveyed by the Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment (Menko Marves) Luhut Binsar Panjaitan some time ago.
He said, in an effort to improve governance of the palm oil industry, the government would provide opportunities to business actors and would whitewash around 3.3 million ha of oil palm land.
However, Luhut said the government was forced to whitewash it, because it was not possible if the oil palm on the land was cut down.
“Yes (it will be bleached), what else do we want to do, how come we take it off, no, just your logic, we have to bleach it,” he said to the media crew after the Press Conference on Improving Palm Oil Industry Governance, Friday (23/6/ 2023).
For the record, Luhut has been appointed by President Joko Widodo to be responsible as Chair of the Task Force for Improving Palm Oil Industry Governance and Optimizing State Revenue. Luhut’s position was determined through Presidential Decree (Kepres) no. 9 of 2023 concerning Improving Governance of the Palm Oil Industry and Optimizing State Revenue dated 14 April 2003.