Nusa Dua, (ANTARA News) - Indonesia is committed to developing oil palm plantations and industries in environment-friendly and sustainable ways to facilitate the export of its key commodity particularly to the European Union (EU), a minister said.
"The Indonesian government in cooperation with the private sector has made every effort to conserve the environment. We exploit natural resources to meet our nation`s socio-economic aspirations while at the same time realizing the need to conserve flora and fauna," Trade Minister Mari Elka Pangestu said at the Indonesia Palm Oil Conference and Price Outlook 2009 here on Wednesday.
The government had issued a number of regulations to curb abuses of land or forested land in developing oil palm plantations and industries, she said.
The regulations included Government Regulation No.45/2004 on forest protection and Government Regulation No. 4/2001 on environmental tribunal, she said.
Although the growth of oil palm plantations in the past few years was so high that their total area reached about six million hectares now, most of them was cultivated on the former sites of timber estate, and not on preserved forests, she said.
"In fact, nearly 80 percent of Indonesia`s oil palm plantations has met the criteria of HCVF (high conservation value forest)," she said.
In addition, the country`s palm oil industries had adopted a sustainable industrial development scheme based on the Round table for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), she said.
Therefore, she expressed hope that countries which import CPO and by-products such as EU members would not impose discriminatory policies on Indonesia`s vegetable oils, a move that hampers the country`s exports to the region.
"What is important in the trade is that all regulations must be made transparently, based on scientific proof and implemented consistently without discrimination." she said commenting on a number of EU regulations hampering the export of Indonesia`s CPO and by-products to the region.
As a developing nation whose industries are mostly small-and medium-sized ones, Indonesia also needed technical and technological assistance to abide by the regulations of developed countries as the market of Indonesia`s exports, she said.
Head of the Investment Coordination Board (BKPM) M Lutfi shared Pangestu`s view, saying the government was obliged to create jobs for 8.46 percent of the country`s unemployed people.
He said oil palm industries were among those employing a large number of workers.(*)