Indonesian President Joko Widodo has issued Presidential Instruction Number 5 of 2019 concerning the Cessation of Granting of New Permits and Improving Governance of Primary Natural Forests and Peat Lands. The Presidential Instruction was issued on August 9th.

Through this regulation, the issuance of new licenses of primary natural forests and peat lands in conservation forests, protected forests, which include limited production forests, regular or permanent production forests, and convertible production forests, and other uses as listed in the Indicative Map on the Termination of New Licensing. Previously President Jokowi has issued Presidential Instruction Number 8/2018 concerning the Delay and Evaluation of Licensing of Palm Oil Plantations and Increasing Productivity of Palm Oil Plantations.

The existence of Presidential Instruction No. 5/2019 shows the government’s seriousness to stop deforestation, reduce carbon emissions, and care about climate change issues. However, there remains criticism that the suspension of Indonesian palm oil plantation licenses is less transparent so it is difficult to judge its effectiveness, and the government must provide the latest information.

“Any renewal from the government will now truly benefit the RSPO. If there are companies that are proven to be carrying out illegal practices, we don’t need to have a long due diligence process. If it is transparent to the public, it is clearer which parts of the industry we should improve on,” said Tiurma Rumondang, Director of Indonesia’s Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) Roundtable, Tuesday (11/05/2019).

Head of Greenpeace Indonesia’s Global Forest Campaign, Kiki Taufik, welcomed the issuance of the Presidential Instruction, but he said there were some weaknesses, such as no transparency of data and information related to forestry maps. Second, regulations in the form of Presidential Instruction do not have legal force so they do not impose sanctions for violating the Presidential Instruction.

In the absence of new licenses, Indonesia’s effort to maintain the production of crude palm oil (CPO) is to intensify by replanting palm oil. At present there are 2.4 million hectares of community land that needs rejuvenation consisting of 1.5 million hectares of independent farmers ‘land and 0.9 million hectares of plasma farmers’ land.

The productivity of oil palm plantations owned by the people is still relatively small, only around 2 to 3 tons per hectare. One of them is because the use of seed and seed is perfunctory so that the potential for palm oil production has not been maximized.

If farmers use the right seeds and seeds, crop productivity has the potential to increase to 4.8 to 7.2 tons per hectare. Potential state revenues can reach US$ 3.4 to 5.02 billion annually.

The government aims to complete the rejuvenation of oil palm for an area of 185 thousand hectares by the end of 2019. The government also encourages and supports Gapki’s efforts to complete the certification of Indonesia Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) for all its members by the end of 2020.