Concerning the Welfare of Tobacco Farmers, BAKN DPR RI Held Discussion with UB

Tobacco plantations are an upstream sector that must receive attention, without a strong upstream sector, the Tobacco Products Industry (IHT) will not grow and develop properly. Vice versa, without a strong IHT structure, the tobacco plantation sector will not develop. Based on the data, it appears that tobacco plantations are spread across almost all islands in Indonesia, especially in the 14 provinces which are quite large producers of tobacco. About 99 percent of plantations in Indonesia are people’s plantations. This further reinforces that there is a need for the government’s role to protect tobacco plantations, the majority of which are people’s plantations.

The existence of tobacco as a commodity that is not superior compared to various other agricultural commodities in Indonesia has resulted in the absence of policies and regulations in the trading system for tobacco and tobacco products. Tobacco farmers are trapped in an unavoidable situation, because they do not have environmental factors that protect and empower them, starting at the micro and macro levels. This shows that in the future there is a need for strategies, policies from the government and regional governments as well as IHT’s support for tobacco farmers. So, from the background of these problems, BAKN DPR RI made a visit to Universitas Brawijaya to establish a discussion forum on the dynamics of managing tobacco products and excise policies in the cigarette industry, Monday (5/12). Several speakers were presented in the discussion forum, such as Professor of FMIPA UB Prof. Drs. Sutiman Bambang Sumitro SU, DSc who discussed the health polemic regarding the effects of smoking and how to find alternative solutions. Prof. Dr. Candra Fajri Ananda SE, MSc as Professor of FEB UB also pays attention to excise policy and its influence on domestic economic growth.

Wahyu Sanjaya as chairman of BAKN revealed that so far the excise tax has not had an impact on tobacco farmers, because until now the excise tax on tobacco products has been distributed more towards industrial-producing regions than farmers, so according to him the allocation of excise to tobacco farmers is “big zero”. According to him, this is where UB’s role is in providing ideas through competent experts to help comprehensively in overcoming the problem of excise and tobacco commodities. “It is very unfortunate that with the allocation of the 2400 trillion state budget, only 1 billion is budgeted to help and pay attention to the welfare of tobacco farmers. In addition, more than 90 percent of us import tobacco and there are no proper instruments to monitor import tobacco, because of the “green zone policy”. This is quite clear if government policies are still not in favor of the tobacco farming community,” he said.

The inputs related to the management of excise on tobacco products through consideration of the draft Presidential Regulation include: (1) Application of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) to improve tobacco products and quality and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). (2) Increasing the welfare and quality of farmers and upstream sector workers, plus improving the quality of human resources in IHT by exploring the potential of farmers through education and training. (3) Optimizing partnerships between farmers and the tobacco products industry, as well as optimizing supply chains in order to ensure the availability and absorption of domestic tobacco. (4) Development of product standardization of the tobacco products industry, as well as diversification of tobacco products through cosmetics, perfumes, biopesticide, liquid vape, pharmaceutical industry and so on. (5) Research and Development of Technology Innovation. (6) Patterns of tobacco trade and improvement of tobacco export performance. [Humas UB/ Trans. Iir]