Musim Mas Launched Second Smallholders Hub in Aceh
Indonesia, Aceh Singkil, 19 February 2021 – Yesterday, Musim Mas officially launched its second Smallholders Hub in Aceh with the local government in Aceh Singkil, as part of a collaboration with General Mills. The first Smallholders Hub was launched in Aceh Tamiang in October 2020.
The Smallholders Hubs are one of Musim Mas’ approaches to scale up its smallholders programs by training local government agricultural officers to train and upskill independent smallholders. Musim Mas trains these agricultural officers in Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and NDPE (No Deforestation, No Peat, and No Exploitation). Last year, Musim Mas established its first Smallholders Hub in Aceh Tamiang.
Stakeholders at the opening ceremony of the Smallholders Hub: (From left to right) Bp. H. Kuatno, SP, Head of Food Crops, Horticulture, and Animal Husbandry Service, Bp. Suwito Uwin from Earthqualiser, Bp. Zulkifli from the Head of Agriculture Office – Aceh Singkil, Mr. Robert Nicholls from Musim Mas, and Bp. Rudman Simanjutak from Musim Mas.
Musim Mas would be training 83 agricultural officers in Aceh Singkil, spanning over the next three months. Due to Covid-19 safe-distancing measures, these officers would be trained in three batches. To overcome the challenges of Covid-19’s safety measures, Musim Mas has stationed ground staff in Aceh Singkil to reduce interprovincial travel and to adapt their training to the local culture and evolving Covid-19 measures. Musim Mas’ ground staff would be stationed there for at least two years.
“We are grateful that the Aceh Singkil government is supportive of Musim Mas’ Smallholders Hub. By employing a train-the-trainers approach, we can reach out to more smallholders and build local capacity,” said Rob Nicholls, General Manager of Programs and Projects of Musim Mas. “Covid-19 has delayed our plans. However, together with the local government and stakeholders, we are working to move the project along.”
Stakeholders and agricultural officers pose for a group photo after the ceremony.
The Smallholders Hubs are much-needed platforms especially in areas where there are multiple projects on sustainable development. The Hubs allows palm oil companies, the local government, and stakeholders to pool resources, share expertise, and support third-party extension services.
In addition, scaling up the smallholder program geographically on a landscape-level encourages holistic planning for the livelihoods of smallholders and the community. The Smallholders Hubs approach also connects producers, consumer goods companies, consumers, and along the supply chain through a project, creating an opportunity to build trust and understanding.
Left: Modules taught to the agricultural officers include the maintenance and care of mature oil palms, harvesting, integrated pest management (IPM), and fertilizing.
The Smallholders Hub in Aceh Singkil feeds into Musim Mas’ five-year NDPE roadmap for Aceh. While Aceh is a small sourcing area for Musim Mas, it is a priority landscape because of its unique biodiversity. Musim Mas aims to establish more Smallholders Hubs across Aceh in the next few years.