Visiting and mapping plantations
91 estates covering approx. 247 hectares have ben mapped since November 2017. Current government maps aren’t representative of actual land use. This means some deforestation isn’t officially recognisable and some forest areas aren’t being protected, and that some farmers who have been producing palm for decades are wrongly recognised as producing on Forest Reserves. Two people in each of the three villages were trained in Participatory Land Use Mapping techniques to build capacity for the community to do this work.
Rurality field officers live in the villages and speak the local dialect. These two components are essential to discuss with all the farmers engaged with Rurality, to understand their lives and build a solid trust.
Training farmers to use fertilisers
A training on how to use locally available materials to make organic fertiliser was held. This addressed the finding that imported fertilisers were too expensive for farmers, thus contributing to lower yields. A GAR technical expert will carry out farmer training on best agricultural techniques with 9 palm oil farmers. The aim is to improve yields and soil health and empower farmers to share knowledge with other community members.
Group meetings are organised to present Rurality and the team to the farmers. The first step in building trust is to get to know them and provide farming advice.
Identifying diversification opportunities
A sample plot for horticulture projects has been established. This project promotes livelihood diversification and food security. New crops include sweet corn, tomatoes, red beans, peanuts, onion and rice. The sample plot has sparked interest among members of the community and more farmers are now asking for information about growing new crops.
Connecting with stakeholders
The team engages with several authorities, research centres, NGOs, middlemen and markets to foster a relationship between farmers and these stakeholders. During the RDD work in 2017, the Rurality team mapped out key stakeholders and conducted interviews with them. These included agents/ dealers, village officials, government agencies, mill management staff and civil society organisations. Rurality Officers continue to connect with these kinds of stakeholders while carrying out follow-up activities through the RDD.
Members make far-reaching commitments to respect people and nature in their supply chains. They work with us on an ongoing journey of improvement and innovation.