Replanting ageing oil palm trees is a priority in Indonesia. Old trees become less productive, and to maintain or even increase yields to meet the demand for palm oil without increasing land used, replanting is necessary. For large agribusinesses like ours, replanting is done routinely. However, for smallholders, it can be challenging for a variety of reasons – loss of income, lack of workforce, uncertainty about the process, etc.
GAR has been at the forefront of Indonesia’s Smallholders Replanting Programme (PSR). PSR replaces old, unproductive oil palm trees with new planting materials based on good agricultural practices, to improve smallholders’ livelihood and ensure the sustainability of oil palm as one of the nation’s strategic commodities.
Since November 2017, we have helped 976 smallholders replant an area of 2,647 hectares. Although that is a fraction of our eventual target of 200,000 hectares by 2029, a lot of work has gone into getting the programme off the ground.
GAR set up a dedicated PSR division to drive the programme, offering farmers support ranging from land mapping (their land is often scattered and planted with commodities other than oil palm) to timeline planning. One of the essential things the PSR team works on is facilitating smallholders’ access to funds from the national Palm Oil Fund Management Agency (BPDPKS) and financial institutions like banks.
We also conduct comprehensive sustainability assessments before engaging the smallholders, to prioritise replanting for plantations that meet ISPO/RSPO requirements.
Sometimes, smallholders or communities are resistant to the partnership because they are used to managing their plantations. Our field officers carry out several rounds of dialogues with farmers, public figures, religious and indigenous leaders, local governments and NGOs, to address concerns and get approval, before proceeding with the replanting.
Executed well, PSR can bring many benefits to smallholders, the environment, and the nation. As a key actor in the Indonesian palm oil industry, GAR will continue to play a leading role in the programme to realise these benefits.
As of November 2020, GAR has conducted PSR for smallholders in South Sumatra, Jambi, and Riau. Visit our press releases page for latest updates.