I began my career as an agronomist in a large palm oil plantation company in Indonesia, and across multiple commodities in a research consulting firm. I bring this experience – and my expertise in soil and land management – to my role leading sustainability and supply chain work on palm oil at INOBU.
Independent smallholders face huge challenges in growing palm oil sustainably. A key reason why their productivity is generally low is because many receive no training, and therefore lack essential knowledge and skills. They also don’t have the money to support themselves through certification.
Through this programme, we are seeing a significant change in how farmers treat the environment, particularly in terms of managing harmful waste such as pesticides, and protecting the land and surrounding water sources. Indirectly, in many cases, health issues experienced by the farmers – such as coughing and shortness of breath – are becoming less severe.
There has been a very positive response from the young people involved. Their participation is intended to raise awareness of sustainability, which will hopefully influence the farmers – through socialisation and monitoring activities – to ensure the programme continues and expands. We will also escalate it into an initiative called Agriculture Facility, where smallholders can access agricultural inputs and training.