Acacia fiber supplied to APP’s OKI mills skyrockets 10 fold 

(foresthints.news) - OKI Pulp and Paper Mills began operating in 2016 by processing a very small amount of acacia fiber. By 2017, however, this new Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) owned mill had already sharply increased the volume of acacia fiber it was processing by up to 10 times compared to the original amount.

In 2016, the acacia fiber going into OKI mills amounted to just half a million cubic meters during its start-up period, but by last year the fiber supply to the new mill had soared to almost 6 million cubic meters.

Nearly 65% of the fiber supply entering into OKI mills last year came from acacia harvested in three APP concessions situated on a single expanse of landscape spanning over half a million hectares in South Sumatra’s OKI regency (PT BAP, PT BMH and PT SBAWI).

Meanwhile, more than 25% of 2017’s fiber supply to OKI mills originated from APP’s pulpwood concessions spread across South Sumatra’s Muba regency. The remainder was supplied by APP’s pulpwood concessions across the provinces of Riau, Jambi and West Kalimantan.

These were some of the main highlights from a slide presentation by Greenomics Indonesia (Mar 14). The presentation followed an analysis conducted by Greenomics, the key findings of which have already been delivered to Indonesian Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya, and other relevant top ministry officials, as policy input for monitoring-related purposes.

“The analysis was based on legal data submitted by OKI mills to the ministry over the last two years,” Vanda Mutia Dewi, Executive Director of Greenomics Indonesia, explained to foresthints.news.

This analysis was done as a follow-up to a 2014 Greenomics report which discussed the adequacy level of acacia fiber to be supplied to OKI mills, as well as APP’s other existing mills, as reported by mongabay.com in late November four years ago.

The photos below show the transport operations of acacia fiber from APP-OKI’s pulpwood plantations to OKI mills. NGOs still have pertinent questions about whether the current acacia fiber supply is sufficient to sustain OKI mills.

Existing mills undisturbed?

Greenomics explained that the acacia fiber supply target for OKI mills in 2017 stood at almost 9.5 million cubic meters, but not quite 6 million cubic meters of this target was realized, a mere 63%.

“This means that 37% of the acacia fiber supply target to OKI mills last year was not reached,” the Greenomics analysis pointed out.

The two photos below demonstrate everyday operations, particularly in APP-OKI’s pulpwood concessions, for supplying acacia fiber to OKI mills.

The dramatic rise in the acacia fiber supply to OKI mills during 2017 apparently caused little disruption to APP’s fiber supply to its existing pulp and paper mills in Sumatra’s Riau and Jambi provinces.

APP’s Indah Kiat and Lontar Papyrus pulp and paper mills, located in these two provinces, suffered acacia fiber shortages last year of 2.18% and 6.64% respectively.

Nonetheless, this level of shortage in acacia fiber supply to the two existing APP mills is, according to Greenomics, not really a disturbance as such fluctuations are considered very minor and not uncommon for the two mills concerned, at least over the past 5 years.

“It should be noted, however, that if the full 2017 acacia fiber supply target for OKI mills had been met, this would definitely have disrupted the acacia fiber supply to APP’s existing mills,” the Greenomics analysis emphasized.

Moreover, the acacia fiber supply target to OKI mills for 2018 has been raised more than 21% - from nearly 9.5 million cubic meters last year to more than 11 million cubic meters. One of the recommendations to come out of the Greenomics analysis is that this situation requires continual monitoring.