Oil Palm Farmers Keep Working During COVID-19
Oil palm farmers in Indonesia are facing challenges because of the COVID-19 pandemic but are continuing to work and try to keep production close to normal. So far, farmers still have income as their business partners stay open and price of fresh fruit bunches (FFB) remain higher in Ramadan month.
JAKARTA—Oil palm farmers in Indonesia are facing challenges because of the COVID-19 pandemic but are continuing to work and try to keep production close to normal. So far, farmers still have income as their business partners stay open and fresh fruit bunches (FFB) prices remain higher in Ramadan month.
General Secretary of Oil Palm Smallholders Asasociation (Apkasindo) Rino Afrino said that oil palm farmers in 22 provinces in Indonesia are continuing to work and keep normal production during the pandemic. Rino disagree with the claim that oil palm farmers are suffering severe food shortages.
“People who claimed it are probably not farmers and do not own oil palm plantations. They do not earn their living from FFB,” Rino said in his statement as quoted by Detik.com, (27/4/2020).
He explained that price of FFB in early Ramadan month is around Rp1.250-Rp1.700 per kilogram, higher than the same month last year around Rp800-Rp1.350/kg. Rino strongly believed that farmers benefited from current prices.
Similarly, Kasriwandi, an oil palm smallholder in Muara Bulian, Jambi said that farmers could afford food. "Oil palm farmers have experienced price fluctuation. Precisely, in the moment of coronavirus pandemic, FFB prices were better than last year. Price fluctuation is normal. Suffering severe food shortage is quite impossible for farmers. We were happy when the FFB price was Rp800, even more in the moment of the price reaches Rp1.500/kg,” Kasriwandi added.
Andi Kasruddin, a farmer from West Sulawesi, added that farmers are forced to come up with innovative ways to be resilient in difficult times. “Oil palm farmers have demonstrated their resilience and ability to meet the food needs during tough times when started the plantation from zero.”
Dorteus Paiki, a farmer from West Papua was very confident that farmers could deal successfully with a difficult situation. “We, in West Papua, stay safe and healthy during coronavirus pandemic. We hope people not to take advantage of this difficult situation for personal benefit,” Paiki said. ***