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21 March 2010

Indonesia: Oil palm farmers threaten to boycott Nestle products

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Oil palm planters in 20 Indonesian provinces are ready to boycott Nestle products if the foreign company really stops buying crude palm oil (CPO) from national producers, national news agency Antara quoted a spokesman as saying.
"About 10 million oil palm farmers spread in 20 Indonesian provinces have stated their readiness to boycott Nestle products. Apkasindo (Association of Indonesian Oil Palm Farmers) is now preparing to draw up a list of Nestle products in the market," Apkasindo Secretary General Asmar Arsjad said here Saturday.

He said Apkasindo had so far only obtained oral statements of readiness from its regional chapters in the country but the association`s central executive board would on Monday (March 22) officially send letters to them to ask for their support for and participation in the boycott of Nestle products.

The boycott was meant to respond to Nestle’s decision to terminate its CPO purchasing contract with PT Sinar Mas which would have a devastating impact on the livelihood of Indonesian oil palm farmers, he said.

Nestle had reportedly decided to stop buying CPO from Indonesian producers as oil palm cultivation in the country was considered to be harming the environment.

Meanwhile, Laksamana Adiyaksa, treasurer of the North Sumatra chapter of the Indonesian Oil Palm Entrepreneurs Association (Gapki), said the oil palm planters’ boycott threat "should be reacted to wisely by all stakeholders."

"It does not mean that we are afraid or very concerned about the threat but it should be discussed in a business-like way," he said.

The government should also be involved as a mediator in solving the problem caused by Nestle’s boycott of Indonesian CPO which had not happened for the first time, he said.

He said Indonesian CPO producers were increasingly paying attention to the environemntal aspects of their production processes under the Roundtable Sustainable on Palm Oil (RSPO) system."Nestle should not have acted unilaterally," he said.

Earlier, Irfan Mutyara, chairman of the North Sumatra chapter of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) had said Indonesia was one of the world`s major CPO producers and exporters and thus, if Nestle stopped buying Indonesian CPO, there would be other buyers.

"If a buyer boycotts a product, the producer can do likewise against the buyer’s product and ask domestic consumers to follow suit," he said.


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