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.