As a token of appreciation for the commitment of its partner scheme farmers for managing their oil palm plantations in a sustainable manner, palm oil giant Asian Agri distributed more than four billion Rupiah worth of certified palm oil sales premiums to them in Pekanbaru, Riau on Thursday (21/3).
Governor of Riau, Syamsuar and Asian Agri Director of Corporate Affairs, Fadhil Hasan, symbolically handed over the premium from 2017 sales to representatives of 72 Village Unit Cooperatives (KUD) from Riau and Jambi provinces.
“A partnership that encourages sustainable palm oil practices and assures prosperity to farmers is a strong reason for Asian Agri to share the premium sales of certified palm oil,” said Hasan.
According to him, the premium is expected to motivate farmers further in implementing the best plantation practices in their oil palm plantations, so that they can maintain the certification they have already obtained.
“We hope this will help answer the challenges currently faced by the palm oil industry in terms of sustainability,” he added.
As an important note, the premiums distributed since 2013 were not given in cash, but in the form of training, mentoring on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), and other important needs for farmers, including the provision of owls that are useful as natural pest exterminators in oil palm plantations.
A representative of the farmers, Antonius Tulus, speaking at the same occasion, thanked the company for its continued provision of guidance.
“The premium provided is very useful in carrying out the replanting program to improve the quality of life and economy of the farmers,” he said.
The partnership between companies and farmers is seen as one of the answers to reduce deforestation and ensure the environmentally-friendly management of international standards by oil palm farmers in Indonesia.
“The Riau Provincial Government would like to thank the company for empowering farmers in the implementation of sustainable palm oil management, contributing to the welfare of oil palm farmers. This model of partnership between Asian Agri and farmers that focuses on sustainability can be an example and an inspiration in a competitive palm oil industry, “said Riau governor Syamsuar.
Through the company’s sustainability policy, Asian Agri consistently applies best practices in all of its operations. In addition to obtaining certification, managing their plantation in a sustainable manner also allows farmers to get an increase in yield as well as income while having a positive impact on the environment.
Up until at present, Asian Agri has managed 100,000 hectares of oil palm plantations and employed 25,000 people. As a pioneer in the Indonesian Government’s Transmigration Nucleus Estate (PIR-Trans) program which began in 1979, the company has partnered with 30,000 smallholders in Riau and Jambi provinces who manage 60,000 hectares of oil palm plantations.
More than 86 percent of Asian Agri’s core plantations in North Sumatra, Riau and Jambi provinces and 100 percent of smallholder plantations in the three provinces have received Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certificates.
Certification from International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) has been achieved by all gardens owned by Asian Agri and its assisted farmers. More than 93 percent of Asian Agri’s oil palm plantations and mills have been certified as Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO).