InfoSAWIT, JAKARTA - Komunitas Lingkungan Eksternal Binaan BGA (Kolega) would be the way for the company to identify villagers’ development potential to deliver profits one to another by empowering economy about palm oil and other activities.
Long term – good relationship between palm oil plantation company and villagers around has become a foundation to realize sustainable palm oil. In this case, it is important for the company to identify every potential of villagers’ empowerment including smallholders to escalate their welfare to be more independent particularly in uncertain time because of external factors, such as, price fluctuation and climate change.
That is why Bumitama Gunajaya Agro (BGA) launched Kolega as the commitment of the company to create profitable relationship with the villagers around the company’s operational by conducting two category programs, such as, economic empowerment about palm oil and other activities.
It started in 2011 when Kolega initiated to establish vegetable business groups. After that water fishery business group was also established in 2012. What BGA initiated and the success of the pioneer groups inspired other villagers to join and became the partners.
Until now there have been 30 groups that join Kolega in empowerment program. There are six sectors to empower, they are, plantation, fishery, livestock, micro, small, medium businesses, plantation production tool, and tourism.
One successful story in Kolega members is in Village of Tumbang Titi, District of Ketapang, West Kalimantan Province. It is Kelompok Tani Makmur. Its business is watermelon plantation and hit its glory when they got 170 tons of watermelon from a 2,4 hectare - plantation every harvest time. It was sold at 6.000/kg. By the late of 2022, Kelompok Tani Makmur cultivated more than 9 hectares watermelon plantations by involving 14 workers. The cooperation planned to cultivate the areas to be 15 hectares and multiply the workers.
Not only focusing to get economy, Kolega program also runs with conservation initiative by BGA in social forestry scheme. The watermelon plantations of Kelompok Tani Makmur grow in Village Forest of Belaban Rayak. It was bushes and was always in flame when extreme dry season happened. It was the place to hunt.
In the beginning BGA helped the local people to get forest village permit from Ministry of Environment and Foretry. To escalate the roles of the villagers to cultivate village forest, LPHD (Lembaga Pengelolaan Hutan Desa) was established and together with Bumitama, they protected and conserved it, transform the degraded areas. The areas where were in flame would be very productive to grow vegetables and fruits. These would be the alternative source for the villagers to support economic independency. (*)