38 clove oil factories cease production in Buleleng

by Alit Kertarahardja on 2012-11-16

Buleleng Regent Putu Agus Suradnyana has stopped the operations of illegal clove oil producers, which allegedly caused harm to the clove plantations and the environment.

Putu Harthana, head of Buleleng Public Order Agency (Satpol PP), told Bali Daily on Thursday that the Buleleng administration had already sent warning letters to the producers ordering them to immediately halt operations.

“None of them had acquired the necessary documentations to operate their ventures,” Harthana said.

Buleleng is one of the island’s largest clove producers with hundreds of hectares of clove plantations.

Clove farmers enjoyed their robust harvests with increasing prices of the commodity in both local and international markets.

Native to the Maluku Islands in Indonesia, clove leaves and fruits have been used as spice in cuisines all over the world. Cloves are also processed into essential oils, Ayuverdic medicine in India and Chinese herbal medicine, and clove oil extract is used as an anodyne or painkiller for dental emergencies.

A number of countries including Indonesia, India, Madagascar, Zanzibar, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are recognized as world’s clove major producers.

Teams from Satpol PP have identified and sent warning letters to 38 factories operating in Sukasada, Banjar and Busungbiu.

“We have a team on standby in Banjar district to monitor the factories. If they continue their operations the team will move in and close down the plants. On Friday, our officers will travel to Busungbiu and inspect the factories there,” Harthana added.

In response, the association of clove oil producers Asimidac has lodged protests against Buleleng administration’s action to halt the operation of clove oil production.

Andi Bastian, a spokesperson from the association, commented that the regent had gone too far by closing the factories.

“The regent has to understand our operations. There might be misinformation about this [the operation],” Bastian said.

Bastian also speculated the possibility of business tricks applied by competitors from outside Bali. “Many clove producers from outside Bali started to open their businesses here knowing that the island has high quality clove plantations,” he said.

Bastian said that these businessmen were those who did not apply from required licensing from Buleleng administration including operation permit and an Amdal environmental assessment study.

“The majority of clove oil producers in Buleleng are home industries — small-scale entrepreneurs,” he said.

Meanwhile, local producers are members of the association. “The administration has to reconsider its action to close the operation of small-scale clove oil producers. The economic impacts on this policy might be quite significant,” Bastian said.

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