President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) expressed his strong support for Indonesia’s palm oil industry when opening the 14th Indonesian Palm Oil Conference (IPOC) and 2019 Price Outlook in Nusa Dua, Bali, on Monday, Oct. 29, 2018.

President Jokowi urged the palm oil industry continue growing, so that it can play a significant role in realizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s).

On his speech in front of hundreds of farmers, GAPI Boards and several member of the cabinet, President stated five messages to the palm oil industry. First, the industry should maximize the technological development  for the sustainability development of the palm oil industry. “Palm oil productivity should be increased. We shouldn’t lag behind from our neighbor,” he said.

Second, the acceleration of replanting program. He said that oil palm farmers should not be burdened with complex procedures that will hinder their productivity. “Make sure that the procedures are correct. If current procedures are too many and too complex, then make it simple. If possible, just one simple procedure. With the replanting program, we want to increase the farmers’ welfare,” he said.

Third, the need to increase exports of palm oil, as its contribution to the total exports reached US$21 billion or around Rp300 trillion in 2017. The industry should not only focus on the traditional markets in European Union and India. But the industry needs to tap into new markets, such as Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran, and African countries.

Fourth, development of downstream palm oil industry. It should be aimed at enabling producers to export palm oil in the forms of finished products within good packages.

Fifth, President wants the B20 program implemented fully 100 percent soonest possible. If more palm oil used for biodiesel blending under the B20 program, then it will automatically increase the price of crude palm oil.

“We should pursue this kind of trading strategy. Otherwise, we’ll be always under pressures. It won’t happen if the B20 works well.  All machines, vehicle machines or power plants, should just use B20. They will later understand. But this will take some time before being realized,” he said

Gapki chairman Joko Supriyono expressed his appreciation of the government’s support for the development of the downstream sector.  He said the government’s decision to make the use of fuel containing 20 percent bio-content (B20) mandatory has seen some positive results. Joko said the distribution of palm-oil based biofuel already increased to 2.1 million kiloliters by the third quarter of this year, against the target of 3.92 million kiloliters.

“We hope that in the fourth quarter, this target can be achieved so that the foreign exchange saved through the B20 program reaches $2.1 billion. Our wish is that next year, efforts to increase exports can run better,” Joko said as quoted from Jakarta Globe.

He also explained why the theme of this year’s event was related to the Sustainable Development Goals. “The mission of the SDGs covers three dimensions of sustainable development, which are: economic, environmental and social. This year’s theme for IPOC is aimed at deeply analyzing the palm oil industry’s development and its contributions to the SDGs,” he said.