This impact story was originally posted on CSRwire here.
Musim Mas Group officially launched its first Smallholders Hub in Sambas on 14 January 2022 with the local government and key stakeholders. To date, Musim Mas has established a total of six Smallholders Hubs across Indonesia.
The Smallholders Hub is one of Musim Mas’ approaches to scale up its Smallholders Program and embed valuable skills within the community. The hub trains local government agricultural officers, or Village Agricultural Officers (VEO), on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and NDPE (No Deforestation, No Peat, and No Exploitation). These officers then share their expertise with independent smallholder farmers and equip them with the knowledge needed for responsible farming.
The new Sambas Hub aims to train 119 VEOs and reach out to more than 1,500 independent smallholders across the entire Sambas District over two years. Musim Mas has stationed two field staff in Sambas to work closely with the VEOs and the Sambas District Government.
As the face-to-face training sessions will be conducted during the Covid-19 pandemic, safety measures are in place. Physical distancing is being maintained, and the participants must wear masks and abide by protocols recommended by the government.
“The Sambas District Government is strongly committed to developing the skills and knowledge of smallholders in the district,” said Rob Nicholls, General Manager of Programs and Projects of Musim Mas. “They seek to improve the economic conditions of smallholders and their families while remaining dedicated to protecting the environment at the same time. The Smallholders Hub is an excellent opportunity to support the aims of the Sambas District Government. It’s well-aligned with Musim Mas’ commitment to improving smallholders’ livelihoods while conserving the environment. Musim Mas also works closely with key stakeholder Earthqualizer, a well-respected non-profit organization in the region. Together, we aim to maximize this program’s benefits to all palm oil smallholders in Sambas.”
“Sambas district is one of the regencies in West Kalimantan Province that’s developing oil palm plantations,” said Swisto Uwin, Smallholder Program Manager of Earthqualizer Foundation. “Based on Earthqualizer’s studies and analysis dated till 2021, the area of planted oil palm plantations in Sambas Regency reaches 125,296 hectares, consisting of 91,526 hectares within company concessions and 33,770 hectares managed by oil palm smallholders. We need to develop the capacity of farmers and institutions to improve the farmers’ quality of business. It’s crucial to involve VEOs to accelerate the implementation of sustainable plantation practices in Sambas district.”
“The Oil Palm Plantation GAP training is a good example where companies and non-governmental organizations can collaborate with the Sambas District Government in developing human resources such as VEOs,” said Fahrur Rofi, Vice Regent of Sambas. “Until now, only Musim Mas has a special program for empowering and increasing the capacity of oil palm farmers in Sambas district. This is a good example and should be followed by other plantation companies operating in the district.”
Having launched its first Smallholders Hub in 2020, Musim Mas aims to establish more Smallholder Hubs in the future and improve the livelihood of more smallholder farmers. Also, Musim Mas plans to launch its first Smallholders Hub in Muba, South Sumatra, this year.
Find out more about Musim Mas’ initiatives for smallholder farmers at this link.