Social impacts of oil palm in Indonesia: A gendered perspective from West Kalimantan
Oil palm plantations and smallholdings are expanding massively in Indonesia. Proponents highlight the potential for job creation and poverty alleviation, but scholars are more cautious, noting that social impacts of oil palm are not well understood. This report draws upon primary research in West Kalimantan to explore the gendered dynamics of oil palm among smallholders and plantation workers. It concludes that the social and economic benefits of oil palm are real, but restricted to particular social groups. Further expansion of plantation-based oil palm poses a serious risk of impoverishment, especially for women. Conversely, support for independent oil palm smallholding offers good prospects for empowering both women and men, and enhancing their prosperity. Investment in oil palm processing would be especially beneficial for young women.