About the group
Number of smallholders: 188 = 153(M), 35 (W)
Preserved Area: 578.19 Ha
Total Area: 578.19 Ha
On-going Facilitator: PT London Sumatra Tbk (no longer)
Location of project: Bina Karya Village, Karang Dapo Sub-district
Province: Musi Rawas Utara District
Status of project: Certified
SUSTAINABILITY JOURNEY STORY
Transferring knowledge, from plantation to pesantren or madrasah
Through knowledge of sustainable practices, a smallholder cooperative in a village in Musi Rawas Utara of South Sumatra, Indonesia, has supported a community development programme in the neighbourhood by establishing an Islamic boarding school (pesantren).
The Cooperative, called Koperasi Unit Desa (KUD) Pemura, is located in the village of Bina Karya, in the Karang Dapo Sub-district, Musi Rawas Utara District, South Sumatra Province of Indonesia. The members are committed to participate in the community development as asocial responsibility programme after enjoying the benefits since the cooperative obtained RSPO Certification.
The Cooperative Group Manager, H. Zainudin, said this year Pemura is looking forward to receiving RSPO Certification for the third year. “We have to retain the certification as we have experienced the benefits of joining the RSPO since we adapted sustainable practices two years ago. We are extending the advantage now by supporting community development through education.”
He said the members of Pemura agreed to build an Islamic boarding school named Al-Istiqomah which began to operate in early 2020. Of the one hundred students studying in the pesantren now, 27 of them are staying in the dorm, and all are local children from the village, he added.
Pesantren is a type of educational institution focusing on Islamic values and practices. It is widely spread across Indonesia, and popular in most villages.
Zainudin said the Al-Istiqomah pesantren is equipped with classrooms as well as bedrooms, a hall and public kitchen, while staff at the boarding school comprise of five teachers, a cook and administrative personnel. The foundation that runs the pesantren has been legalised and fully operational, he added.
Al-Istiqomah was prepared as members of Pemura overwhelmingly agreed to build the school as a contribution to the village, he reiterated. “The farmers became aware of the sustainable practices in oil palm cultivation, realising the importance of protecting the environment. We live from nature; our livelihoods are dependent on nature, so it’s also important to inherit nature in good shape and pass them on to the next generation, our children. Meanwhile, educating the children is also an effort to prepare the next generation.”
Thanks to RSPO Certification along with the process that included socialisation and training sessions, the smallholders received knowledge about high conservation value for sustainable oil palm cultivation; a dynamic condition that leads them to transfer another form of knowledge to students in the pesantren, he added.
The Pemura Cooperative, he said, has also been involved in the small road construction project as another form of participation in the community development plan in the Bina Karya Village. “It’s not really a road construction as this is a rural area, but soil compaction with gravels or other materials.” This is what we can do to positively contribute to the community.”
Smallholders have generally enjoyed the benefits of RSPO Certification, he said. Challenges for the Cooperative, however, still exist, particularly on how to keep up the spirit of the farmers to follow the high standards of sustainable practices. “That’s why we hold regular meetings to discuss everything. As the Cooperative consists of 15 farmer groups, the gathering and discussions may be held in different locations at their convenience.”
By now, the Cooperative expects to get assistance on how to have better communication with credit buyers so payment can be made on time with no delay. “Many times, we have to wait so long to get payments. We don’t know to whom we can address and communicate this kind of situation which sometimes becomes a problem,” he said, adding the Cooperative also needs assistance in the audit plan as it costs dearly.
Pemura is now expecting to get the third RSPO Certification. The Cooperative is committed to promote sustainable palm oil production in accordance with the RSPO Principles and Criteria and is ready to face new opportunities. They have experienced progress and have become tougher in facing the palm oil industry with its strict sustainability standards.
Total area covered by the project
Number of smallholders benefitting from this project
Number/percentage of women supported by this project
18.62% women in this project
How you can support
The group members have contributed to the development of a local school after being RSPO Certified. They need assistance from a third party to strengthen their capacity to retain their ISH RSPO certification. This effort should be appreciated by the downstream players such as Consumer Goods Manufacturers or retailers. Please give us support in the sustainable supply chain by purchasing the RSPO Smallholders Credits. There will be more attention and activities towards community development and environment protection.