About the group
Number of smallholders: 171 = 124(M), 47 (W)
Preserved Area: 497.07 Ha
Total Area: 1081.6 Ha
On-going Facilitator: PT LONSUM Indonesia Tbk (2019) – FORTASBI (2020-now)
Location of project: Sub-village V, Mekar Sari Village, Megang Sakti Sub-district
Province: Musi Rawas District, South Sumatra
SUSTAINABILITY JOURNEY STORY
Paving the way for the young generation of farmers with sustainable practices
Since the KUD Mekar Sari Cooperative in South Sumatra of Indonesia obtained RSPO Certification, sustainable practices in oil palm cultivation have been adopted, creating positive social and economic impacts not only among smallholders, but also among the younger generation who are part of rural communities.
The farmers of the KUD Mekar Sari, located in Mekar Sari Village, Megang Sakti Sub-district, Musi Rawas District, South Sumatra, Indonesia, are committed to promoting sustainable practices in palm oil production, which will hopefully inspire the young generation about sustainability, according to the cooperative Group Manager Ratiman.
He said that sustainable practices are common among the growers who have joined the RSPO, in which the crops are produced with no harm to the environment and society, so the production in the village can last for a long period. “Smallholders have now been cultivating in a sustainable method. Hopefully, our next generation can benefit from it in the long run,” he said.
Good agricultural practices, he added, are like an investment in preparing the next generation of planters with sustainability skills. “Young people are the most important potential source for the future. We want to provide new economic opportunities for them and there are other options for employment, but when they choose to continue oil palm cultivation, they already at least know about environmentally responsible practices.”
“Mekar Sari Cooperative got the certification in 2017 with the assistance from PT Lonsum and FORTASBI (Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil Farmers Forum). The benefits for the cooperatives and their members are the additional incomes from the sale of RSPO Credit and the useful knowledge of sustainable practices. Since then the smallholders increasingly understand that environmental sustainability is very important for the future, children and grandchildren.”
He went on to say that many of the farmers plan to pass the plantations down to their offspring, that’s why they must promote sustainable and responsible palm oil production and transfer the knowledge about sustainability to others.
As further support for the young generation, the Cooperative has extended contributions to the social development programme in the village, he continued. “This is another example showing that the RSPO certification is very useful for social activities in Mekar Sari Village. We have been able to distribute staple food packages to those in need.”
Special attention, he revealed, has been given to the quality of education along with sport for teens. He said the cooperative supports children in the village through a scholarship program for outstanding students at the village’s kindergarten and elementary school. In a similar spirit, to support the young generation, Mekar Sari Cooperative has assisted a soccer school, SSB Mandala, as part of its participation in rural community empowerment, Ratiman stated.
Despite all the good experiences with the RSPO Certification, Ratiman related this current situation of the coronavirus spread, as a real challenge. “Given the current condition which is still affected by the pandemic, we are forced to hold many events and activities online. Currently, we need support to have a tower to improve connectivity and wireless network so all virtual activities will not have any problem.”
The Cooperative has somehow been able to make a meaningful difference in the village, he noted. “Smallholders joining the RSPO are happy that they can spread good knowledge of sustainability in the community, for instance, the importance of personal protective equipment in terms of occupational health and safety. Other farmers begin to apply these things when working in plantations.”
Total area covered by the project
Number of smallholders benefitting from this project
Number/percentage of women supported by this project
27.49% women in this project
How you can support
The group members are approaching the end of their 5-year RSPO certification, as such they need assistance to ensure they can keep up their performance in applying sustainable standards to be rewarded the second RSPO certification. This is very crucial for the cooperative because they plan to pass on the knowledge of managing the plantation sustainably to the next generation. This effort should be taken into consideration by downstream players such as Consumer Goods Manufacturers or retailers.
Please give us support in the sustainable supply chain by purchasing RSPO Smallholders Credits.