Indonesia Faces Challenges for Its Organic Fuel Implementation

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Photo: Purningsih

Jakarta (Greeners) – Following the launch on August 2018, the use of organic fuel, dubbed as Biodiesel 20 which contains 20 percent plant based oil and 80 percent of petroleum diesel, is reported to have poor performance on improving oil palm farmers welfare.

Based on data from Indonesian Oil Palm Association, or locally known as GAPKI, Indonesia produced 42 million tons of crude palm oil or CPO in 2018, making it the world’s largest oil palm producer.

However, Abetnego Tarigan, senior advisor at the Presidential Staff Office, said that Indonesia’s oil palm productivity is lower compare to Malaysia’s as a result of bad quality seeds and poor management, especially the farmers.

“The seeds are majority too old, the solution is that the government needs to set up standards of planting. If it’s being harvested, then plant new (seeds). Next is poor management as most of farmers stated there are corruptions while open the oil palm plantations, for example the initial agreement was 124 trees, but they would only plant 100 trees,” said Tarigan in Jakarta on Wednesday (09/01/2018).

READ ALSO: ISPO and RSPO Certifications for Indonesia’s Sustainable Oil Palm Industry 

Furthermore, he said the president has instructed to strengthen infrastructure and resources to support derivative industries of oil palm and renew plants, especially from people’s plantations.

On Biodiesel 20 or B20, he highlighted on the use on transportation.

“There are statements claiming that B20 is bad for machines. So, ministry of industry and BPPT (agency for the assessment and application of technology) must sit together and come up with decisions on this situation,” he said. “Earlier, the ministry of industry has stated that the producers and users will be handled by them.”

READ ALSO: Indonesian Scientists Develop Bioethanol from Palm Oil Waste 

Lila Harsyah Bakhtiar of directorate general of Agro Industry at the ministry said that there are complaints from the producers and users on the effects of B20 to vehicles.

“There were some inputs made to us (the ministry), however most of those who complaints, firstly, the companies have no machine production line in Indonesia. Secondly, it might be that the mix of CPO damages the engines. On higher ground, for instance in Lembang, if we buy diesel there exposed to cool weather resulted to dampness in the tanks,” said Bakhtiar.

However, Bakhtiar said that it is nothing big of a deal as it occurs only 0.5 percent of Indonesia population and they should focus on the 99.5 percent who does not complain about B20.

“The solution is for oil based fuel companies, such as Pertamina, Shell, Petronas which sold B20 for compliying with government regulations should have provided consultant services. Because, the rejection came from the users who don’t understand how to use (B20). In addition, the government also needs to set up the guidelines on B20 implementation, so they just follow and read (the instructions),” said Bakhtiar.

Furthermore, she said that people’s mindset needs to start to understand that Indonesia can no longer depend on fossil fuel.

“Currently, Indonesia is having fossil fuel import crisis, if people is still thinking during oil boom era, then it won’t work,” she said. “We used to be able to produce 1.5 million barrels of oil, now it’s only 700 barrels. So, if the way of thinkinf is still in the past, it will be difficult.”

Reports by Dewi Purningsih