JAKARTA, SAWIT INDONESIA – Indonesia has condemned Greenpeace for its black campaigns against the palm oil. For Indonesia, the palm oil is a very important commodity as it is one of the largest contributor to Indonesia’s foreign exchange and absorption of workers. The government officials, business players, and smallholders have asked for the freezing of Greenpeace in Indonesia.
“If the Greenpeace campaigns continue, we all will suffer. It will affect 17 million smallholders of oil palm. If they are Indonesians they should respect their own nation,” Maritime Coordinating Minister Luhut Binsar Panjaitan said recently.
The Indonesian Employers’ Association (Apindo) chairman in charge of trade, Benny Soetrisno said that the state should support the palm oil industry, which is under threat by Greenpeace. “The state has got benefits from the palm oil industry, especially from its foreign exchange,” he said.
In 2017, the palm oil contributed a total US$22.97 billion or around Rp318 trillion in foreign exchange earnings, causing Indonesia’s non-oil-gas trade balance in surplus at US$11.83 billion.
Benny underlined the very important role of the palm oil industry in closing the deficit of the trade balance. That is why the administration of President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) should take a decisive action against Greenpeace.
“It’s been too long we allow the Greenpeace actions as such. As a result, palm oil exports were hindered in Europe. Indonesia should follow the policy of India which has freezed the Greenpeace there,” Benny said
Concurring with Benny Soetrisno, the smallholders have asked the Indonesian government to take a firm action against Greenpeace. Rino Afrino, deputy chairman of the Association of Indonesian Oil Palm Smallholders (APKASINDO), said that Greenpeace has insulted the dignity of Indonesia through its black campaigns against the palm oil. The accusation of Greenpeace that palm oil resulted from deforestation activities could not be necessarily proven as the true fact.
“Can Greenpeace prove that the palm oil sold by Wilmar has damaged environment? In fact, its suppliers have complied with the principles of sustainable palm oil, such as ISPO and RSPO,” he said.
Sahat Sinaga, deputy chairman of the Indonesian Palm Oil Council (DMSI) said that Indonesia should not be succumbed to the demand of Greenpeace as its campaigns are barbaric and provocative. “Indonesia has been improving the governance of palm oil industry, but Greenpeace has arbitrarily cornered Indonesia. For its initial step, the government should audit the financial sources of Greenpeace,” he said.
“Indonesia should follow India to freeze Greenpace as it had contributed nothing to the country. They haven’t helped in improving the Indonesia economy. But conversely, they harm our economic interest,” he said. (*)