About the group
Number of smallholders: 79 = 61(M), 18 (W)
Total Area: 519.85 Ha
On-going Facilitator: PT London Sumatra Tbk/ Currently member of FORTASBI (Indonesian Sustainable Oil Palm Farmers Forum)
Location of project: Air Bening Village, Rawas Ilir Sub-district, North Musi Rawas District, South Sumatra
Province: North Musi Rawas District, South Sumatra
SUSTAINABILITY JOURNEY STORY
KUD Sumber Rejeki contributes to community welfare improvement
KUD Sumber Rejeki is a smallholder cooperative located in the Air Bening Village, Rawas Ilir Sub-district, North Musi Rawas District, South Sumatra Province of Indonesia. Its groups’ farmers include 79 palm oil growers who have applied good agricultural methods since pursuing RSPO Certification. The cooperative and members have since experienced the benefits of applying sustainable practices.
Group Manager of the cooperative, Surianto, said the KUD is in better shape, and the members enjoy improved livelihoods, adding that it’s time to pay back to society and village where palm oil cultivation is permitted.
“Oil palm is now cultivated in a socially and environmentally responsible manner, helping the farmers earn sustainability certification and to have several benefits. They agreed to get involved in the rural development programme. Through the cooperative, the members have extended various activities for the village and community.”
He explained the activities included village road rehabilitation, worship facility construction, and rewards to the best students in the area.
“Thanks to the RSPO Certification we got in 2018, the farmers have seen increased incomes. The KUD has since allocated funds for social activities. The contributions included two mosques and a mushola (small-sized mosque) constructions in the village. We also pay attention to students who excel in their schools. We provided gifts or rewards to three students in the village each at elementary, junior high, and high school levels.”
He continued that there has also been assistance for the local kindergarten, in the form of equipment for playing and learning, school desks and chairs, and other facilities.
“During the coronavirus pandemic, we donated masks and hand sanitisers at several points that could reach the community in the village. At the end of Ramadan fasting month, we traditionally provided staple food packages for the underprivileged in the neighbourhood.”
Sumber Rejeki also participated in the improvement of rural roads to and from the plantation so that the infrastructures can be enjoyed by everyone including farmers who are not part of the RSPO. “This is certainly beneficial for everyone including harvest transportation, fertiliser supply, and also for transportation of other commodities like rubber.”
The Sumber Rejeki Cooperative was established in March 1985 with the intention of facilitating rubber and oil palm cultivation for farmers and workers. Eleven years later, in collaboration with PT PP London Sumatra Indonesia Tbk, it developed an oil palm schemed plantation through the Members Primary Credit Cooperative (KKPA) programme.
According to Surianto, the oil palm cultivation for the then schemed plantation began in 1996/1997 which means most trees are aging now and that the replanting period is approaching. “The KUD has set short- and long-term goals which will hopefully make oil palm production in this village will even more sustainable, grown in ways that are ecologically responsible and socially beneficial.”
To reduce replanting costs, Sumber Rejeki is preparing a seedling programme that will purchase and use high quality seeds. “There’s already an allocation plan for this programme and we will use only the good standard of certified, traceable seeds. This is about sustainability, and we want our next generation to experience the same good things from oil palm cultivation.”
In the longer term, he continued, the cooperative plans to run a cattle breeding project. “This will be prepared as an asset for the cooperative, while the proceeds can be sold as well. Such a programme can also support the environment as we plan to produce organic fertiliser from the livestock manures for the oil palm plantations. It will hopefully help to reduce the cost of plantation maintenance because the highest cost of the plantation comes from fertilization.”
The cooperative still needs assistance in the replanting period, particularly in the legal and funding aspects. “NGOs, companies, or other institutions can assist us, but it must be based on a win-win solution, not causing debts that can be burdensome for us,” revealed Surianto.
Total area covered by the project
Number of smallholders benefitting from this project
Number/percentage of women supported by this project
22.78% women in this project
How you can support
The group members are at the first phase of the replanting programme because most of their palm has passed its productive year. They need assistance to ensure their livelihoods are secured during at least three years of the unproductive period before the palms bear any fruits. They also need assistance in employing the planting procedures required by the RSPO certification system. This effort should be taken into consideration by the downstream players such as Consumer Goods Manufacturers or retailers.
You can help give us support in the sustainable supply chain by purchasing RSPO Smallholders Credits.