SINGAPORE, Nov. 2, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Golden Agri-Resources (GAR) is collaborating with MARS and Fuji Oil to roll out Sawit Terampil, an upskilling programme for more than 4,000 independent smallholders from the Leuser Ecosystem area in Aceh and North Sumatera. It builds on GAR's traceability efforts which has seen the company map 95 percent of its supply chain to the plantation. GAR is now looking to further improve the livelihoods of farmers identified through traceability to plantation efforts with Sawit Terampil.
Through a multi-stakeholders collaboration, GAR roll out an upskilling programme for 4,000 smallholders Leuser Ecosystem area in Aceh and North Sumatera to achieve the ISPO and RSPO certification standards.
Monitoring & evaluation is key to ensuring the adoption of sustainable practices. Sawit Terampil programme provides two years of mentorship to the independent palm oil smallholders joining the programme.
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The programme aims to provide comprehensive support to independent smallholders through group coaching and individual support to implement good agricultural practices. Capacity building trainings and mentoring will teach independent smallholders to improve their cultivation methods and prepare them to register for ISPO and RSPO certifications, which in turn will help increase their incomes.
"Upskilling farmers and suppliers with knowledge is key to implementing sustainable agriculture practices. Building on the information we gained through the traceability initiatives, we can analyze the potential gap in productivity, yield and agricultural practices and provide targeted assistance to smallholders," said Anita Neville, Chief Sustainability & Communications Officer, Golden Agri-Resources.
Head of Traceable & Transparent Production Golden Agri-Resources, Wahyu Wigati Wijayanti explained how the company actively engages farmers in trainings to improve sustainable farming practices, "Sawit Terampil is currently implemented in 10 regencies in North Sumatera and Aceh and will continue until December 2023. Since the implementation of the programme, around 61 percent of participants have increased their understanding of sustainable oil palm cultivation practices compared to before joining the programme."
"In the future, we want to help farmers who are ready to obtain ISPO and RSPO certifications. We continue to welcome opportunities to collaborate with potential partners to help our farmers and the agriculture sector grow," said Wahyu.
GAR believes improving farmer livelihoods is a shared responsibility that requires contributions from all parts of the value chain. It has developed an ecosystem of knowledge and financing partners to help deliver Sawit Terampil including Koltiva, an agri-tech company as an implementing partner and SMART Research Institute, the Company's research arm on best agronomy practices for mentorship, and MARS and Fuji Oil, who shared the same commitment with the Company.
Koltiva supports the programme with its comprehensive technology ecosystem, KoltiTrace and its agronomists and field agents on the ground to help smallholder farmers to achieve sustainability standards. "Our data-driven coaching methodology combines technology with on-ground agronomists to enhance the effectiveness of traditional capacity-building programs. By receiving tailor-made advice on good agriculture practices that are driven by data, we hope to improve smallholders' livelihood while helping to preserve the environment," Chief Operating Officer, Ainu Rofiq said.
Rukaiyah Rafik from Indonesia Sustainable Oil Palm Smallholders Forum highlighted the lack of knowledge and education are often stumbling blocks for farmers. She shared that farmers experience poor yield because of the variety and quality of the fruit they grow. High level of illiteracy among farmers makes it difficult for farmers to properly record their production and other farm activities. However, these challenges could be tackled with targeted assistance and transfer of knowledge with programme, such as Sawit Terampil.
GAR and its partners believe that Sawit Terampil is another important step in involving suppliers in the transformation process and the company will continue to share its experiences and best practices with suppliers to foster a responsible and robust industry.