Lalang Kabung Inhabitants Create Additional Income by Growing Guava Trees

rapp by sukanto tanoto grow guava treeThe cultivation of guava nectar has proven to be a positive prospect to improve the local economy in the village of Lalang Kabung, Pelalawan.

Riau Pulp and Paper (RAPP), founded by Sukanto Tanoto, would like to develop this new venture further by distributing 200 guava seedlings to the inhabitants of Lalang Kabung through the One Village One Community program run by the humanitarian division of the company.

RAPP is one of the largest pulp and paper producers in the world, and forms a part of the Royal Golden Eagle group of companies founded in 1973 by entrepreneur Sukanto Tanoto. Its production factories are based in the Riau Province of Sumatra, Indonesia. RAPP believes in giving back to the community by working with the Tanoto Foundation to hand out scholarships to bright and hard-working students, its various Community Development programs as well as through healthcare and infrastructure development. These programs are executed in the villages surrounding its operations, where most of the RAPP employees live.

Nana Herman, Chairman of the Village Consultative Body of Lalang Kabung, believes the guava nectar project is a great way for the residents to create an additional independent income for themselves. He said “For most of the workers here, planting guava nectar trees becomes an additional income. I hope that programs like this continue for the welfare of the residents of our village. We wish guava nectar can be grown in our village.”

Abu Kasim (51) is one of the local residents participating in the program after recently having received seedlings, and has tasked his two youngest children with helping to take care of the plants, as well as harvesting the guava nectar. Another local day labourer encourages children of all ages to join in and start planting their own guava plants as a way of learning to be self-sufficient and independent from a young age.

Asian Agri Practises Environmentally Sustainable Pest Control Methods

Asian Agri is one of the largest palm oil producers in the world, and forms part of the Royal Golden Eagle group of companies, founded by Sukanto Tanoto in 1973. Asian Agri manages 28 palm oil plantations, which cover a total area of 160 000 hectares, and 19 palm oil mills.

The company is focused on environmental sustainability throughout all their business ventures, and is aware of the important influence that nature and a healthy environment can have on a sustainable and productive plantation.

Various collaborative programs have been introduced to the areas surrounding the company’s plantations. They provide free medical care and health checks in rural villages, encourage smallholders in the palm oil business to expand their income through various types of agribusiness through the Training of Trainers program, team up with the Tanoto Foundation, founded by entrepreneur and philanthropist Sukanto Tanoto, to hand out scholarships to students of all ages and have initiated the Fire Free Village program in an effort to help stop deforestation.

When it comes to pest control on their palm oil plantations, Asian Agri has been increasing its efforts to avoid using chemicals by implementing Integrated Pest Management within their operations. By developing pest control solutions that are both sustainable and environmentally friendly, and in no way disturbs the existing eco system, as well as through careful monitoring of pest populations, they are mostly successful in eliminating the use of chemical pesticides.

Some of the most common pests found on the plantations are rhinoceros beetles, leaf eating caterpillars, woolly caterpillars, bunch moths, termites and rodents.

One of the solutions is to use owls to keep the rodent population in check. Rodents are natural prey for the owls, and it is said that one owl can eat up to four of them per night. In each plantation using this method of pest control, one owl house has been built per square hectare of plantation to combat the rodents.

Caterpillars are also a large concern in the palm oil plantations and to combat these pests without resorting to using chemicals, hibiscus flowers are planted amongst the palm trees to lure the caterpillars from eating the palm leaves.

asian agri sustainable pest control

Visit to Kerinci by Catholic Junior College Students: Interview with Timothy Koh & Nicholas Wong

Visit to Kerinci by Catholic Junior College Students: Interview with Timothy Koh & Nicholas Wong

A group of students from Singapore’s Catholic Junior College visited Kerinci, the heart of APRIL’s operations, as a reward of their winning entry at the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s CUBE 2015 competition. Inside RGE catches up with Timothy Koh & Nicholas Wong as they reflect on their 3D/2N trip. Interview with Timothy Koh & Nicholas Wong from Catholic Junior College on their visit to Kerinci

Inside RGE: Can you share your top 3 favorite activities from your visit to Kerinci?

Timothy: One of my favorite places is the Kerinci Central Nursery as it taught me about the initial process of paper making. Making paper is not as easy as cutting down trees and extracting pulp, but requires manual labour for choosing the best genetic species and the best “grade A” plants that have to be trimmed and given specific amounts of water to maximize their growth. The nursery helped me to understand the intricate details necessary to produce the best paper products.

Interview with Timothy Koh & Nicholas Wong from Catholic Junior College on their visit to Kerinci

My next favorite activity is the fire prevention presentation done by Craig Robin Tribolet. The presentation gave me greater insights into the causes and problems of fire in Sumatra, and the more complex problems of how to resolve them. The presentation also helped me to appreciate the clean environment in Singapore, and sometimes the haze problems in Singapore are nothing compared to the problems here.

Interview with Timothy Koh & Nicholas Wong from Catholic Junior College on their visit to Kerinci

Another favourite is the Fire Posko where we learned the different techniques of fire fighting and even got a chance to get some action by spraying water on a “burning” car. We also had fun spraying water on each other.

Interview with Timothy Koh & Nicholas Wong from Catholic Junior College on their visit to Kerinci

Nicholas: Like Timothy, I enjoyed Craig’s presentation very much. I also enjoyed visiting the nature school. Through these destinations, I was able to gain a better understanding of the paper production process as well as the risks involved.

Interview with Timothy Koh & Nicholas Wong from Catholic Junior College on their visit to Kerinci

Craig’s presentation also enlightened me that there is no one single solution to the fire problems in Indonesia and that collective efforts are key to ensuring the reduction of forest burning.

Furthermore, visiting the nature school was a huge reward as I got to see a school based on the environment and nature conservation while preparing the students for the future.

Through this trip, I was able to understand more about APRIL and its operations. I see how APRIL is actively participating in the local activities and aid the workers by equipping them with life skills. It is heartening to find out that APRIL is actively pursuing sustainable development.

Interview with Timothy Koh & Nicholas Wong from Catholic Junior College on their visit to Kerinci

Inside RGE: Did you feel that the visit gave you a better understanding of the paper industry?

Timothy: My initial thoughts on the industry were filled with skepticism. However, after the trip, I felt that APRIL has introduced many policies, regulations and efforts to ensure that their business does not operate solely on wealth, but on sustainability as well.

Nicholas: I feel more empowered as an influencer now that I have had a first-hand experience of the Kerinci plantation and am equipped with the facts surrounding rural development and paper production.

Editor’s Note: APRIL, a company under the RGE group, has been a Platinum Sponsor of CUBE since 2014.