Sustainable agriculture and improving rural livelihoods

Business representatives compared options for sustainable agriculture. Credit: Joelia F Adhisticia.

Business representatives compared options for sustainable agriculture. Credit: Joelia F Adhisticia.

Breakfast dialogues opened the final day of the Forests Asia Summit on May 6, in which four organizations — namely Cargill Tropical Palm Holdings, Great Giant Pineapple, DuPont Indonesia, and The Forest Trust — took part in roundtable business dialogues.

Anthony Yeow, president director of Cargill Tropical Palm Holdings, said that building relationships with smallholders in order to replant land is one of the best practices in sustainable agriculture.

Yeow’s company has been building relationships with smallholders to replant 20,000 hectares of land, to help the smallholders stand on their own feet in terms of financial and social-sector skills. To maintain such relationships, companies need to have integrity and transparency in their dealings with smallholders, and need to give equitable payments.

Another opinion came from George Santoso, managing director of DuPont Indonesia, who believes that sustainable agriculture can begin by creating innovative products — because such products can increase growth while reducing labor costs, time, and the impact on the climate.

To build sustainable agriculture, we need to improve rural livelihoods. The welfare of farmers, who are the main actors in agriculture, should be supported through equitable payments, education, health, and increased skills.

Nuri Nursjahbani is a student of the Faculty of Forestry at Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia.

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