Golden Agri-Resources offers support to Indonesian communities
Palm oil manufacturer Golden Agri-Resources says it has helped to upgrade agricultural practices in more than 40 communities in Indonesia.
Golden Agri-Resources has collaborated with several partners, including Wageningen University, to try and improve agricultural practices in Indonesia. Credit: GAR
COVID-19’s impact continues to be felt, especially among vulnerable parts of rural Indonesia where food security and income generation have been put at risk by the pandemic. In response, leading palm oil-based agribusiness, Golden Agri-Resources (GAR), says it has increased focus on food security and livelihoods programmes to support communities where the company operates.
Golden Agri-Resources has collaborated with several partners, including Wageningen University in The Netherlands, to implement the Alternative Livelihood Program through Integrated Ecological Farming.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw that access to nutritious food was an even greater challenge for rural communities. Our Alternative Livelihood and Integrated Ecological Farming Programmes have been helping communities plan, fund and grow their own food, allowing them to be less reliant on supplies from outside the village,” said Anita Neville, Senior Vice President, Group Corporate Communications at GAR.
“The programme helps farmers feed themselves, plus earn much needed extra income. As a bonus, improving farmer productivity in these communities reduces the need to open more land for farming, reducing the risk of deforestation.”
GAR adds that The Alternative Livelihoods and Integrated Ecological Farming Programmes it runs provides workshops for villagers in different communities, which help them understand how to increase soil fertility using organic fertiliser. The hope is this will result in healthier crops.
Local farmers and smallholders are taught good agricultural practice and given access to modern agriculture experts. Farmers are also encouraged to sell in the local market to generate income.
To date, the programmes have helped more than 40 communities in Sumatra and Kalimantan upgrade their agricultural practices and grow cash crops, ranging from organic vegetables to coffee. At the same time, they have reduced risk of deforestation and opened up more cropland.
Alongside its work in improving food security in Indonesia, GAR says it is teaching rural communities, farmers and smallholders how to farm with sustainable practices in mind. It hopes this will reduce pressure on forest lands, eliminating the use of fire to open areas for crops, focusing on water management and implementing regenerative agriculture techniques to maintain healthy soils.
“Rural and farming communities are uniquely reliant on the environment in which they live and work. A healthy environment, coupled with good techniques, equals a healthy harvest. This is an investment in their and our future,” said Neville.
“COVID-19 has shone a light on the vulnerabilities in the global food system. GAR has been working for several years on building the resilience of the communities in which we work and will continue to do so.”