Yogyakarta, 28 October 2021 – A leading plantation commodity and one of Indonesia’s most notable exports and economic contributors, palm oil continues to be stigmatised within and outside the world’s fourth most populous country. Many including the younger generations remain unfamiliar with palm oil’s social and economic benefit to the country.
In commemoration of Youth Pledge Day, the Stiper Agricultural Institute (INSTIPER) Yogyakarta and palm oil producer Asian Agri – part of the group of companies managed by Royal Golden Eagle (RGE) – today organized an educational webinar themed “Millennials Against Negative Palm Oil Campaigns”.
This webinar included Dr. Ir Tungkot Sipayung, Founder and Executive Director of the Palm Oil Agribusiness Strategic Policy Institute (PASPI); Rudi Wijaya, SP, Assistant Continuous Improvement, Asian Agri; and was facilitated by Rengga Anjalis S.TP, M.Si, IPM, Lecturer at the Faculty of Agriculture, Instiper Yogyakarta.
An advocate of the sustainable palm oil industry and one who has fought anti-palm oil campaigns for over a decade, Dr. Ir Tungkot Sipayung explained the myths and facts of oil palm at the webinar. He said, “The anti-palm oil campaigns continue to perpetuate misinformation and mischaracterize the industry. This is not helped by global media which has sided with this lobby and its narratives, reproducing such narratives to the point they are passed off as truth. It is therefore important to provide the right information and understanding to the community, especially the younger generation, so that they can be better informed and actively resist the negative campaign,” added Tungkot.
From the millennial planter’s perspective, Rudi Wijaya said that the younger generation must exercise critical thinking and awareness of the negative palm oil campaign because not all of the allegations made by the campaign actually happen in the field. “As a planter, I want to share my experiences in the field with the younger generation. From the company’s perspective, Asian Agri is committed to prioritizing sustainability practices across its operations. The company’s operations also contributes significantly to the welfare of the community, especially palm oil smallholders,” he added.
The Vice Chancellor I for Academic Affairs, Dr. Maria Ulfah, STP., MP., explained “INSTIPER Yogyakarta has a long working relationship with Asian Agri via a scholarship program for the Bachelor of Oil Palm Plantation. This has been going on since 2010. A total of 187 Asian Agri scholarship students have studied at INSTIPER Yogyakarta. Graduates then gain valuable experiences in their deployment in Asian Agri’s Plantations. This is a commitment by INSTIPER Yogyakarta and Asian Agri to nurture the next generation of planters and continuously contribute to Indonesia’s growth”.
Dr. Maria Ulfah, STP., MP. added, “In the spirit of commemorating Youth Pledge Day, the younger generation must play an active role in filling the independence. By having adequate knowledge about the palm oil industry, the largest contributor of export revenue today, the younger generation can play an active role in efforts to combatting these negative campaign and promote the truths and benefits of oil palm”.
The webinar not only provided insights into the palm oil industry, the uplifting of lives of smallholders and communities, but also career prospects in the industry. INSTIPER and Asian Agri held an open discussion and quiz at the end of the webinar.
About Asian Agri:
Asian Agri is one of Indonesia’s largest palm oil producers. Founded in 1979, the company today manages 100,000 hectares of plantation land and employs over 25,000 people. A pioneer of the Indonesian government’s Trans-National Government Migration (PIR-Trans) program, Asian Agri currently works with 30,000 Plasma Scheme smallholders in Riau and Jambi who operate 60,000 hectares of palm oil plantations, and independent smallholders who manage a total 41,000 hectares.
Implementing a strict “no burn” policy since 1994 and best practices in sustainable plantation management, Asian Agri has helped its smallholder partners improve productivity, yield and supply chain traceability, while assisting them obtain certifications. The company’s mills are technologically advanced and energy self-sufficient, minimizing greenhouse gas emissions.
Asian Agri (PT Inti Indosawit Subur) is a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) since 2006. More than 86% of its owned plantations in North Sumatra, Riau & Jambi provinces and 100% of Plasma Scheme smallholder plantations in Riau & Jambi provinces have been RSPO certified. All its owned plantations and those owned by scheme smallholders ISCC (International Sustainability & Carbon Certification) certified since 2014. In 2019, the company also achieved 100% ISPO (Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil) certification.
The company’s operations are ISO 14001 certified, while its Learning Institute and nursery research center in Riau province, Indonesia are both ISO 9001 certified. Asian Agri’s laboratory at the Center for Research and Development in Tebing Tinggi is accredited by the National Accreditation Committee under the ILAC Mutual Recognition Arrangement (ILAC MRA).