Jambi (ANTARA News) - Jambi province is in need of domestic and foreign investors to develop its downstream industries which use raw materials from plantation commodities like oil palm and rubber, a local official said.
Downstream industries are badly needed in line with the government`s program to revitalize agriculture, plantations and forestry in the 2006-2010 period, head of the Jambi Plantation Office, Ali Lubis, said here Friday.
In the plantation sector, the provincial administration was expected to expand the oil palm plantation area by 200,000 hectares within four years, Ali said.
Downstream industries in Jambi could take advantage of crude palm oil as raw material for various products, he said.
Citing an example, he said Malaysian investors had come to Sarolangun district to invest in a rubber industry and a wood processing industry.
Downstream industries were also expected to use the hard outer shell of oil palm kernels as alternative fuel substituting fuel oil.
The Jambi provincial administration was committed to providing investors with facilities for developing the province`s economy as well as creating more job opportunities.
The commodities Jambi is to cultivate as its premier income earners and work force absorbers are rubber, five oil palm, coconut, coffee and cassiavera.
The five commodities are currently being cultivated on a total plantation area of about 1.2 million hectares with the help of almost 880,600 workers.
He said the price of oil palm kernel whose derivative product is crude palm oil (CPO) was continuing to increase in the world market - a fact that was greatly benefiting the farmers.
Until 2005, oil palm plantations in Jambi covered a total area of 403,000 hectares and produced 936,595 tons of CPO, 43,417 tons of which were exported at a total price of Rp391 billion.
The prospects of oil palm was promising as the need for the commodity was in line with the growth of the world population.
With regard to the need for biofuel as an alternative to fuel oil whose stock is already limited and whose price continued to increase, oil palm had bright prospects as it had high economic value. (*)