Will Improved Palm Oil Yields suffice to the Development of Sustainable Biodiesel Feedstock in indonesia?
- Publisher: Lithuanian Institute
Palm Oil | Oil Palm Plantations | Biofuel | Policy
By the expansion of oil palm plantations, Indonesia has become a world leading producer of crude palm oil. However, Indonesia has also been largely criticized due to issues of land use change and deforestation. The country now promotes the use of palm oil for biodiesel production as part of policies to achieve renewable energy targets. Currently yields on palm oil plantations are far from optimal. Do new policies promoting biodiesel production address the issue of yields properly? This study analyses the driving forces for the expansion of palm oil plantations in Indonesia and the palm oil yields obtained in the country. Data is collected through a multi-disciplinary structured literature review of relevant palm oil publications from the last 15 years. We identify the policies that have been put in place and the strategies used to establish palm oil plantations in the past years. We look at the newly defined policies of the Indonesian government towards renewables and climate mitigation, in particular, targets for biodiesel production and fuel substitution. The idea is to verify whether the new policy will address the low yield issue. Presently, palm oil yields are much lower in Indonesia than in neighbouring Malaysia, also a major producer. Particularly, smallholders have lower yields than private and government estate plantations. Expanding production has been focused on covering new areas with palm oil plantations and less on developing farming methods. In earlier stages, the establishment of plantations included proper education of farmers and incentives to maintain production. Smallholders nowadays start palm oil production with little or no previous experience; still they favour oil palm over traditional crops. New policies have to address farming improvements to guarantee sustainable feedstock for biodiesel.