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By Yos Kusuma

All parents want the best for their children, regardless of their profession. Parents working in one of the most sought-after commodity in the world, Palm Oil , often have to work in the most remote of places. A research undertaken by UNICEF in 2016 sought to understand the impact of Indonesia’s Palm Oil sector on children’s rights.

The research focused on seven areas in which the industry may affect the rights of children – maternity rights and breastfeeding; childcare; health and nutrition; water, sanitation and hygiene; education; child protection; and child labour. Given the scale of the industry, it was estimated that around five million children could have been affected. They include dependents of Palm Oil workers, as well as those living in rural communities near oil palm plantations.

Medical clinic at PT. Sukajadi Sawit Mekar mill.

Musim Mas was one of the Palm Oil companies that participated in the research. Our Central Kalimantan Plantation is eight hours’ drive away from Palangka Raya and yet houses living facilities on par with that found in the provincial capital. Amenities such as a clinic, childcare, playground, school, minimart, access to clean water and entertainment complex attest to the company’s care for our workers’ and their family’s wellbeing.

Women from our Plantation and local communities gather for an afternoon chat at the communal area.

The Plantation ’s facilities are also open to members from nearby communities, thereby encouraging our workers and their family to socialise with the locals. For example, the school is attended by our workers’ children and children from surrounding villages. All students are accorded equal attention and treatment. The social harmony amongst community members is further strengthened by the assistance we provide to the villagers in oil palm farming, such as sharing our agricultural best practices with them to help improve their crop yield.

Our Plantation worker shares his farming knowledge and techniques with villagers from the local community.

Our Plantation ’s workers are able to work with a peace of mind, knowing that their children are in safe hands (at the childcare or school) and that healthcare, clean water and other basic necessities are readily accessible. Providing such a family-centric working environment has done well for our productivity. The Central Kalimantan Plantation achieved the highest production per hectare among all Musim Mas Group’s plantations in 2014 – exceeding 7.13 tonnes of CPO per hectare – and is still among the most productive Plantation to date.

Children get to study at the school built by Musim Mas in the Plantation ‘s vicinity.