On 24 July 2013, the Government of South Tapanuli
District and Conservation
International (CI) Indonesia through
Sustainable Landscapes Partnership (SLP) program, signed a Memorandum of
Understanding. Saulian Sabbih, Assistant for Development Economy of South
Tapanuli District, at one SLP Showcases event in January 2016 said, “The local
government’s visions are in line with that of CI Indonesia: quality human resources and
conservation of natural resources.”
In the district, CI has provided training for rubber farmers in 22 villages within four sub-districts around the Batang Toru forest through its SLP program. A new lesson gained by these farmers is that 40 – 50 year-old rubber trees can still produce sap. Prior to this, they replaced old rubber trees with other crops, such as cacao and coffee.
The training has brought improvements to various aspects of their life. Latex yield has increased by 30 - 100% from the normal rate of 60 – 80kg per week, and the farmers have also learned to keep the cost down by making their own fertilizers. With a proper technique, they are able to save time on tapping, so they can spend their extra time working other jobs, such as construction works or weeding for other farmers, for an additional income.
Burhanuddin Harahap, a training participant from Aek Nabara village stated, "Now, I can make my own fertilizers for my rubber trees and use the right tapping technique."
In terms of the economy, the yield increase has come to a Rp200,000 - Rp400,000 extra income per week for these farmers.
In October 2014, CI-SLP and PT Kirana Sapta, one of the major rubber factories in South Tapanuli District, signed an MoU to open a direct channel for trading with the farmers. Now, they can sell rubber directly to PT. Kirana Sapta. It also proves that the rubber they tap is of good quality and meets the requirements of a private-sector company.
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EditDescription:PT. Kirana Sapta with OKR are buying rubber sap from farmer in Roburan Dolok Village and Pagaran Gala-gala Village.
EditPhoto Credit:© CI/photo by Edy Suprayitno
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"After our collaboration and workshop on market access, the farmers are eager to sell directly to us. The sap we receive is cleaner and uncontaminated," said Leno Agustono, Community Development, PT. Kirana Sapta.
With this direct selling to the factory, the farmers receive Rp2,000 - Rp2,500 more per kilogram compared to selling to local suppliers. Since March, PT. Kirana Sapta has purchased rubber directly from farmers in Panyabungan to cut down transportation costs.
The income increment brings new hope for farmers. Sulaiman Lubis, a training participant from Marancar Godang village shared his dream, "I want to send my children to college."
Improved capacity and wider market access have led to better welfare for the farmers. This is the objective of the SLP program: to enable Indonesian farmers to compete toe-to-toe in Indonesian market. (Edy Suprayitno/May, 3 2016)