Bunge and Musim Mas join forces to enhance sustainability in palm oil production

Bunge and Musim Mas Group have announced a collaboration focusing on smallholder farmers in Sambas, West Kalimantan, Indonesia. The initiative, supported jointly by both companies through 2025, aims to educate over 1,000 independent smallholders on sustainable palm oil cultivation methods.

This partnership is a response to the Agriculture Sector Roadmap to 1.5 degrees, convened by the Tropical Forest Alliance. The roadmap’s goal is to halt commodity-linked deforestation, aligning with the global 1.5 degrees Celsius pathway, while improving smallholder livelihoods and transforming the sector towards forest-positive land-use management.

Ben Vreeburg, Bunge’s Senior Director of Sustainability, emphasized the company’s commitment to being a sustainable solutions partner. He highlighted the objective of building sustainable supply chains and supporting smallholder farmers in increasing their productivity and profitability without encroaching on forest areas.

The collaboration marks the establishment of Musim Mas’ sixth Train-the-Trainers Smallholders Hub, a pivotal element in their strategy. This hub, the first on Kalimantan Island, will focus on training local government Village Extension Officers (VEOs), who will then disseminate their knowledge to smallholder farmers, ensuring lasting impact. The training will encompass good agricultural practices, business management, and NDPE (No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation) principles in palm production.

The initiative also aims to improve smallholders’ market access, raising awareness about certification programs like the Indonesia Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) and Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Despite West Kalimantan contributing only 5% to Musim Mas’ supply base, it remains a crucial region for their overall sustainable sourcing strategy.

Musim Mas has significant experience in smallholder engagement, having worked with over 42,000 independent growers since 2015. Olivier Tichit, Director of Sustainability at Musim Mas Group, emphasized the importance of a collaborative, landscape-based approach for lasting impact. The company looks forward to leveraging its expertise in partnership with Bunge.

Bunge brings its experience through initiatives like ILHAM (Inisiatif Lestari untuk Hasil Agrikultur Mampan), aimed at improving farm management and meeting sustainability requirements. Through this joint effort, Bunge’s expertise, particularly from their work in Malaysia, will be instrumental in enhancing and expanding the program’s reach in Sambas.

This collaborative effort between Bunge and Musim Mas represents a significant step towards sustainable agriculture and the global fight against deforestation, particularly in the critical palm oil sector.

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