Asia Pulp and Paper’s Vision for Community Prosperity 

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Nestled within the vast expanses of the Sanggau Regency in West Kalimantan, Indonesia, is the village of Mengkiang, home to about 400,000 people and a rich tapestry of natural resources. Among them is 49-year-old Lidat, a farmer like many others in his village, whose primary source of income and sustenance is rooted in the cultivation of rice, farming of natural rubber, fish, and poultry. This symbiosis with nature defined the life of Lidat and his fellow villagers, but it was not without challenges.

The lack of accessibility and information led to a reliance on traditional practices that had been passed down through generations. The most significant of these was the slash-and-burn method of farming, a technique that, while embedded in tradition, was unsuitable for the present-day environment due to its detrimental effects.

Recognising this gap, Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) Sinar Mas introduced the Desa Makmur Peduli Api (DMPA) programme, or the Integrated Forestry and Farming System (IFFS) in 2015. This innovative initiative aimed to usher in an era of change, bringing prosperity to communities while reducing illegal logging, forest fires, and conflicts. Lidat, alongside other farmers from his village, decided to join this transformative journey towards a sustainable future.

Transforming Lives and Landscapes: Lidat’s Journey 

The DMPA programme emerged as a game-changer for Lidat and his fellow villagers. With Asia Pulp and Paper’s support, they received much-needed resources and equipment, including hand-tractors, fertilisers, pesticides, and herbicides. These tools served a dual purpose – enabling the villagers to increase their yield and income, while also promoting responsible forest management practices.

It was a turning point for Lidat, the current head of the Mutia Agung Farmers Group. The programme’s impact was evident in his increased harvest yield and his transformation into an advocate for sustainable farming. With his newfound knowledge, Lidat transitioned from harmful slash-and-burn methods to more environmentally friendly farming practices, leading to a significant increase in his rice harvest from 60 sacks (about 4.5 tonnes) to an impressive 105 sacks (about 7.8 tonnes).

The Lasting Impact of the DMPA Programme

But the benefits didn’t stop at increased yield. This programme initiated by Asia Pulp and Paper also led to a substantial reduction in the cost of labour, which previously could easily reach over Rp2 million (roughly US$131) for hand hoeing. With the introduction of hand-tractors through the DMPA programme, labour costs dropped to about Rp400 thousand (around US$26) per hectare.

Through Lidat’s story, we see a tangible example of how human prosperity and environmental conservation can coexist. His journey from traditional farming to one that involves environmental stewardship underscores the successful interplay between community development and forest protection. It’s a story that speaks volumes about the power of sustainable transformation and the positive ripples it can create.

Asia Pulp and Paper’s Commitment to Inspire a Greener Future

As Lidat’s experience demonstrates, it is possible to change age-old practices and mindsets for the betterment of both the environment and the community. His narrative is one of many that reflects Asia Pulp and Paper’s ongoing commitment to its Sustainability Roadmap Vision 2030, reinforcing our belief in a future where economic growth and environmental sustainability are not mutually exclusive.

As we continue to inspire and implement sustainable change in communities across Indonesia, we believe that, like Lidat and the villagers of Desa Mengkiang, we all can contribute to a better tomorrow. We invite you to learn more about our initiatives and join us in this journey of collective action towards a greener future and sustainable prosperity.