The negative campaign against Indonesian palm oil continues to be echoed by the European Union. The European Parliament believes that oil palm commodities create many problems ranging from deforestation, corruption, child labor, to human rights violations. Then why is it only palm oil that is subject to regulations that the European Union applies while other vegetable oils do not?
These issues make Jokowi government always aggressively remind that EU discrimination against oil palm should be stopped because it can harm the economy and the palm oil-producing country itself. According to research from the University of Stamford, it was said that the economic chain of oil palm can reduce poverty by 10 million people, proved more than 16 million people who are either directly or indirectly tied to oil palm economic life improved.
So far, with the issues intensified against palm oil, it is merely an unhealthy competition between vegetable oils without looking at the facts. Like the issue of deforestation, based on the results of Institut Pertanian Bogor (IPB) research, it was said that deforestation is not caused by oil palm because oil palm plantations in Indonesia do not occupy forest areas.
Then the issue of NGOs about employing children in oil palm plantations which only looks at photos of children who are in the palm oil area, has the fact been checked in the field?
The presence of children in a place does not mean children are involved in the activities in the place. For example, if there are children in the rice fields, does that mean they work there? They probably have to follow their parents to the field because it is impossible for them to be left at home. But again that does not mean they are employed as farmers in the field. Likewise in oil palm plantations, the presence of children in oil palm plantations does not mean that children also become workers in oil palm plantations.
In oil palm plantations and even companies, it is not possible to employ children, in addition to breaking the law because the type of work in oil palm plantations is beyond the ability of children, and is only possible done by adults.
For this reason, there needs to be a synergistic role between various parties to stop the discrimination that is intensified by anti-palm NGOs and to continue to make improvements in all aspects so that there are no more gaps to discriminate against oil palm again because oil palm is a strategic industry owned by Indonesia and as Indonesian citizens we should be proud with the benefits of palm oil for Indonesia, especially in eradicating poverty and participating in advancing the Indonesian palm oil industry.
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