Cargill establishes smallholder coconut farmer development program in Indonesia
20,000 coconut seedlings donated to local farmers in North Sulawesi, Indonesia
Amurang, North Sulawesi, Indonesia � February 25, 2013 � Cargill, in partnership with Winrock International, is donating 20,000 high quality coconut seedlings to 200 smallholder coconut farmers in North Sulawesi, Indonesia. The program is designed to help local smallholder coconut farmers achieve higher incomes by providing more productive coconut seedlings, donating organic fertilizer and conducting free local training on good agronomic practices and postharvest handling.
“Cargill is committed to helping smallholders in the North Sulawesi region improve their livelihoods and the economic opportunities of coconut farming, ” said Lindung Samosir, plant manager of Cargill's coconut processing plant in Amurang.
On February 23, 2013, local officials and smallholders joined Cargill and Winrock International at a ceremony in Amurang to hand over the first seedlings for this year's program. Winrock International will serve as the key program partner for this project, helping to develop and deliver training programs to farmers in the region, as well as assist in seedling delivery.
“We are pleased to be partnering Cargill to provide the coconut smallholders of South Minahasa, North Sulawesi with the tools and resources to raise their crop productivity and income, ” said Eva Sulistiawaty, program manager of Coconut Smallholders Training, Winrock International. “We believe that in the long term, this program will provide the awareness, training and education to enable smallholders to better manage their crops for higher returns. ”
The program also will collaborate with government agencies in the region including the local government of South Minahasa, the local plantation office and extension agents' office, and the Indonesian Palm Research Center (Balitpalma). The program uses a three-pronged approach, by providing smallholders free access to improved varieties of coconut seedlings with higher drought tolerance and fungi resistance for replanting; training smallholders in good agricultural practices consisting of improved agronomic techniques, integrated pest management and postharvest management; and providing farmers with organic fertilizers.
“I'm so grateful for what Cargill has done, ” said Yantje Rembang, coconut farmer. “This kind of donation is really helpful for me and I believe other farmers feel the same. We still need seedlings to be planted in our plantation in order to replace the old ones, especially around my area where there are many coconut trees that need to be replanted. This is a really good program and hopefully Cargill will continue with it. ”
“We really support what Cargill has done for the farmers, who are currently suffering from the decrease in copra price, ” said George Umpel, head of North Sulawesi's Coconut Farmers Association, the Asosiasi Petani Kelapa Sulawesi Utara (APEKSU). “This effort will be able to help the farmers and the government keep up the population of coconut trees. The presence of Cargill in this area is really bringing a positive impact to the community of South Minahasa. ”
This program expands and builds upon Cargill's seedling distribution program from 2011, where 10,000 seedlings were donated in the region. Coconut farming has been an important cash crop for the North Sulawesi economy for the past several decades. Copra, the dried kernel of the coconut, is used in the production of coconut oil. The North Sulawesi region has the largest coconut plantation acreage in Indonesia, with 70 percent of the area owned by smallholders. However, coconut production in North Sulawesi has decreased by 60 percent in the last five years. The North Sulawesi Plantation Department estimates that 40 percent of coconut trees are around 60 years old, at the end of their productive cycle, thus providing smallholders with high quality coconut seedlings to replant is especially essential in this region.
Cargill is an international producer and marketer of food, agricultural, financial and industrial products and services. Founded in 1865, the privately held company employs 142,000 people in 65 countries. Cargill helps customers succeed through collaboration and innovation, and is committed to applying its global knowledge and experience to help meet economic, environmental and social challenges wherever it does business. For more information, visit www.cargill.com and its news center at www.cargill.com/news/index.jsp
About Cargill in Indonesia
Cargill began doing business in Indonesia in 1974 by establishing a feed mill in Bogor, West Java. Today, Cargill - which is headquartered in Jakarta - has over 8,000 employees and offices, manufacturing plants and facilities throughout the country. Business activities comprise animal nutrition, cocoa, grain and oilseeds, palm oil, and sugar. Cargill is a responsible corporate citizen of Indonesia, and its local programs foster responsible and sustainable development, help protect the environment and nourish the people and possibilities that reside in local communities. For more information, visit www.cargill.co.id
Winrock International is a nonprofit organization that works with people around the world to empower the disadvantaged, increase economic opportunity and sustain natural resources. Winrock has been actively working for the development of Indonesia's agricultural sector for nearly 50 years, implementing capacity building programs and providing technical assistance to USDA, USAID and several private companies. Winrock maintains strong relationships with the Government of Indonesia, has an active Memrorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Bogor Agricultural University (IPB), and frequently collaborates with international local NGOs.