A total of 135 oil palm farmers working with PT Asian Agri under a plasma scheme have become the first to begin to harvest plantations that were replanted in 2016, the company said on Wednesday.
The farmers, who belong to the Mulus Rahayu village cooperative (KUD) in the Siak district of Riau province, began to harvest their new crop on December 4, 2018, Asian Agri said in a press release.
‘The Mulus Rahayu KUD is the first cooperative of oil palm farmers who are partners of Asian Agri to rejuvenate their oil palm plantation in April 2016. They are also the first recipients of the replanting funds of the Palm Oil Plantation Fund Management Agency (BPDPKS),” the release said.
Pawito Saring who heads the Mulus Rahayu KUD said that his group has been able to replant their unproductive plantations with the help of Asian Agri.
“One of my worries is to face the waiting time when income drops because the crop is not yet productive. But through a partnership with the company, besides receiving assistance and guidance during the preparation to the replanting process, we also were given training on the alternative economy such as what we operated, that is the patin fish farming so that our revenues have been assured up until now,” Saring said.
Saring, whose cooperative has been working in a partnership with Asian Agri since 1988, aired hope that the replanting that the cooperative conducted could inspire other smallholders to replant their unproductive plantations. Under the replanting program, the Mulus Rahayu KUD members planted the Topaz superior seed developed by the plantation company.
The first harvest, conducted in an area of 310 hectares, was witnessed by the head of the Siak district who is also the elected Governor of Riau, Syamsuar, the head of the province’s food crop, horticulture and plantation office, A. Ferry H.C. and Asian Agri head of plantation, Omri Samosir.
Samosir said that the company has been working harmoniously with the plasma farmers and that this good cooperation was key to the success of the replanting program.
”The partnership between Asian Agri and the scheme farmers has been ongoing for more than 30 years and the oil palm replanting program is a commitment that will continue to the next phase, for one planting cycle. Today, our partner farmers have been able to enjoy the fruit of their commitment to the replanting program. Of course, we hope that the partnership that has been well fostered, will continue and we can go on in boosting the welfare of other farmers in Indonesia,” Samosir said.
Asian Agri has so far cooperated with plasma farmers who manage a total of 96,000 hectares of oil palm plantation in Riau, Jambi and North Sumatra.