“New National Platform for Sustainable Natural Rubber”
Concern for the national sustainable development of natural rubber will have a new national platform through the Sustainable Natural Rubber Platform of Indonesia, which is abbreviated as SNARPI, whose existence was announced on April 30, 2021, by the Deputy for Food and Agribusiness Coordination, Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia. The initial launch or soft-launching of SNARPI was carried out in collaboration with the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia as a first step in mobilizing all elements of society from industry, business actors, academics, independent non-governmental organizations, and also the government.
Natural rubber is an essential and strategic commodity for Indonesia. Apart from being the second-largest agricultural export commodity after palm oil, rubber is the source of livelihood for more than 2.5 million smallholder farmers. These smallholder communities manage more than 85% of natural rubber production sources in Indonesia. Rubber plantations also have an important role in environmental preservation. Several research sources show that natural rubber can absorb 35 tons of CO2 gas/ha/year, release 13 tons of O2 / ha/year, and be a natural catchment area regulator.
Recently, the natural rubber sector has experienced the heaviest economic pressure in Indonesia’s modern paving history. Starting from the emergence of an epidemic of deciduous disease (Pestalotiopsis sp), which has reduced production per hectare by 50%, chronic price depression for a decade since 2011, to the impact of changes in El-Nino weather. The economic impact of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has made clear the vulnerability of the sustainability of natural rubber, given that all business actors are linked in one value chain. The decline in world tire production due to the lockdown policy has brought a chain reaction to the downturn in the national rubber processing industry and has led to an increase in the poverty rate of rubber farmers in many rubber plantation central producing regions in Indonesia.
SNARPI was formed based on awareness to answer these challenges and ensure the sustainability of natural rubber. This needs to involve the participation of all economic actors from the upstream plantation sector to the downstream sector of the rubber finished goods manufacturing industry in one rhythm. GAPKINDO first initiated the milestone to prepare this national platform through a rubber sustainability FGD activity on March 23, 2018. At the IRSG World Rubber Summit in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on May 11, 2018, GAPKINDO then declared a working group to discuss sustainable rubber further. and invite all international stakeholders to participate in the preparation of this platform. This effort was then followed up again in August 2020 by involving international NGOs as part of the initiators who are interested and have competence in the development and empowerment of rubber farming, namely the Rainforest Alliance, SNV, and IDH assisted by a consultant further SNARPI receives full support from the Coordinating Ministry for the Economy through Deputy for Food and Agribusiness Coordination.
SNARPI will involve relevant central and local government agencies, academics and research institutions, NGOs, downstream industries, and representatives of the farming community. By prioritizing the values of togetherness, collaboration, and synergy, this platform is expected to facilitate the formulation of a holistic and participatory strategy for all elements with the same direction and goal, namely supporting the achievement of the SDG’s 2030 targets covering economic, social, environmental and governance aspects through several simple principles, criteria, and indicators.
Thus SNARPI will become the primary reference source in dealing with issues related to the realization of the sustainability of Indonesian natural rubber. Along with this, SNARPI will also be the main gate in Indonesia to welcome international cooperation in supporting efforts to achieve sustainable natural rubber globally. ***