Preventing forest and land fires, through early childhood education
Jakarta, 5 February 2020 – Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food is extending its fire prevention and suppression commitment with a fire prevention education campaign for children in 2020. The company kicked-off the campaign with the launch of “Rumbun and Jungle Friends” a storybook for elementary students in Ketapang, West Kalimantan working closely with the local education office and teachers.
The roll out of the fire prevention education campaign focuses on children, one of the most vulnerable communities to fire and related haze, as the latest in the company’s long standing efforts to prevent forest and land fires.
Since introducing its zero burning policy’s launch in 1997, Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food has implemented zero burning in all of its operations. After the 2015 fires, the effort to rapidly suppress as well as prevent fires was extended to surrounding communities in the most fire prone areas where the company operates. Various programmes such as Desa Makmur Peduli Api (DMPA), have been implemented since 2016.
Children represent one of the most vulnerable groups affected by forest and land fires. In 2019, the National Disaster Management Agency (BNPB) stated more than 900,000 people, including many children, suffered from acute respiratory infections (ISPA) due to forest and land fires. In addition, many schools were forced to close, disrupting students’ learning activities. This was a repeat of the forest and land fires of 2015.
“Early childhood education is important in establishing positive behaviours that those children will adopt as they become adults. Through this education campaign, we hope to be able to raise awareness on the importance of preventing forest fire, in such a fun way that can easily be understood by children. As future leaders in society, we hope they will bring what they learnt now in their life, especially the importance of moving away from slash-and-burn practice,” explained Agus Purnomo, Managing Director Sustainability and Strategic Stakehoholders Engagement, Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food. “
Besides natural factors, Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food’s own monitoring suggests human-related aspects such as carelessness when throwing away cigarette butts or performing land clearing through the slash-and-burn method, contributed to forest and land fires experienced around its operations.
Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food work closely with the local education office and teachers to provide education materials that are readily accessible and easy to understand at the elementary level.
The company also plans to develop further materials suitable for children in intermediary level and developing programme for teachers, to help them convey fire prevention material in a fun and creative way.
“In the next six-months, we will develop and share tools that can be used to educate children at all year levels about the importance of preventing forest fire. Our main focus of the campaign will be areas surrounding our plantation that are prone to fire. While we are working closely with local stakeholders in West Kalimantan, we are also open to exploring how these tools may be shared even more widely, to help change Indonesian attitides towards forest fires,” Agus Purnomo added.
The company’s consistent commitment towards fire prevention and supression has delivered positive results in the past few years. Since 2015, hotspots and firespots have consistently declined. Even during the extreme dry weather in 2019, the number of hotspots and firespots within the concessionarea and surrounding are relatively low. To monitor all hot spot and fire spot surrounding the plantation, the company provides fire report that can be accessed through company’s website. It aims to remain vigilant despite having had success in suppressing fires and keeping hot spots and fire spots to a minimum in its concessions and surrounding villages.
About Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food
In Indonesia, all Golden Agri-Resources’ (GAR’s) palm oil related businesses operate under the Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food brand. Outside of Indonesia, the majority of GAR-owned entities operate under the GAR brand. When talking about GAR’s total business interests in Indonesia, Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food is used.
Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food operates with a total planting area in Indonesia reaching more than 495,247 hectares (including plasma smallholders) as at 30 September 2019, located in Indonesia. It has integrated operations focused on the production of palm-based edible oil and fat. Focus on sustainable palm oil production, its primary activities in Indonesia include cultivating and harvesting of oil palm trees; processing of fresh fruit bunch into crude palm oil (CPO) and palm kernel; refining CPO into value-added products such as cooking oil, margarine, shortening, biodiesel and oleo-chemicals; as well as merchandising palm products throughout the world. It also has operations in China and India including a deep-sea port, oilseeds crushing plant, production capabilities for refined edible oil products as well as other food products such as noodles.
Founded in 1996, GAR was listed on the Singapore Exchange in 1999 and has a market capitalisation of US$2.1 billion as at 30 September 2019. Flambo International Limited, an investment company, is currently GAR’s largest shareholder, with a 50.35 percent stake. GAR has several subsidiaries, including PT SMART Tbk which was listed on the Indonesia Stock Exchange in 1992. GAR is focused on responsible palm oil production.
For more information about Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food, visit www.smart-tbk.com
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