Monday, 10 November, 2008 | 14:46 WIB
TEMPO Interactive, Jambi: Oil palm farmers in Jambi cannot afford to buy fertilizer anymore due to the drop in oil palm prices and the rise in fertilizer prices.
“We are having a hard time,” Amirullah, 46, a farmer from Mundungdarat village, Muarosebo sub-district, Muarojambi district, Jambi, told Tempo yesterday (6/11).
“Sadly, many owners are reluctant to manage their oil palm plantations,” said Amirullah.
The selling price of oil palm fresh fruit bunches is only Rp300-400 per kilogram while it was twice that before the global economic crisis.
The price for 25 kilograms of fertilizer was Rp75,000 but it is now Rp250,000.
“So, 50 kilograms of Mahkota fertilizer can cost as much as Rp600,000,” he said.
Amirullah explained that last year farmers can make Rp18 million by producing ten tons of fresh fruit bunches from five hectares of land within an average of 15 days.
“That was at a selling price of Rp1,800 per kilogram,” he said.
Muklis, a farmer from Tebo district has been forced to neglect his land and go to the city to find work.
“What is important is that I can have enough money to support my family,”
Last month, Jambi Governor Zulkifli Nurdin sent a circular letter to the owners of oil palm refineries suggesting that they buy fresh fruit bunches from farmers at a price of Rp890 per kilogram.
The state-owned plantation company PT Perkebunan Negara (PTPN) VI for Jambi and West Sumatra has agreed to buy from farmers.
“Our joint marketing office is trying to meet government's expectations,” said PTPN Finance Director A. Karimuddin.
The price is between Rp670-700 per kilogram.