Women’s Significant Roles in Sustainable Palm Oil Plantations

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Women's Significant Roles in Sustainable Palm Oil Plantations. Photo by: Sawit Fest 2021 / Dini

PALMOILMAGAZINE, JAKARTA – Women play important roles in palm oil plantations in Indonesia. Rukaiyah Rafiq from the Forum Petani Kelapa Sawit Berkelanjutan (Fortasbi) stated that women significantly contribute to both the cultivation of palm oil and the organization of independent smallholders.

In Central Kalimantan Province, the Asosiasi Petani Kelapa Sawit Mandiri (APKSM) highlighted women’s active roles in administration and auditing. Groups with Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification have had to enhance their knowledge in plantation management. Additionally, women serve as trainers for other women, as seen with UD Lestari in North Sumatra Province.

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The independent smallholders also protect the woman who works in Unit Tim Semprot (UTS). Asosiasi Amanah in Riau does it. The group regularly delivered counseling before doing risky work, which was adopted from APKSM.

Until now, she continued, FORTASBI has about 34 groups with 9.136 smallholders and covers 19.403 hectares. The coordinators reach 525 men and 92 of them are female. The organizations are in North Sumatera, Riau, Jambi, South Sumatera, West Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, and Central Kalimantan.

Uki, her nickname said, woman is as the key not to produce sustainable palm oil only but also is the important consumer. It is time to give women chances in the organization. If the female works in palm oil plantation, “Make sure that there is access of training, knowledge, and protection (self-protection tools and work safety and health) when working at palm oil plantations,” she said.

Besides, she continued, it would be important to educate them about the importance of consuming sustainable products every day. If the female does not work in palm oil plantations, make sure that they have trainings about space they are interested in, for example, in rubber plantations, vegetable, how to manage finances in household.

The trainings that involved the female should consider the childcare service, right time and distance. “Train about how to deal with gender to male smallholders,” Uki said.

By these, it is hoped the female in sustainable palm oil industries would get more confession, and be empowered to support economic progress inclusively and sustainably in this country. (T2)

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