Eighteen years ago the oil palm industry was largely male, so much so that Eny Fitri Rambe was the only woman in that year’s intake at the Asian Agri Learning Institute (AALI).
“Being the only female trainee didn’t make me afraid, I am actually grateful because I was able to beat many other male candidates from various well-known public universities In Indonesia,” Eny says with a smile.
Eny chose to go into agriculture because it’s a major industry in Indonesia, offering plenty of potential for career advancement.
After graduating from the Faculty of Agriculture at the University of Sumatera Utara in 2002, Eny applied to Asian Agri. She was already familiar with the industry, because her parents had previously managed oil palm plantations.
“Since I was a child, I have been familiar with oil palms, this is also one of the reasons why I wanted to join Asian Agri, which is one of the largest palm oil companies in Indonesia,” she said.
Like other planters, when she joined Asian Agri, Eny received basic training on sustainable palm oil management at AALI, located in Riau Province.
For approximately six months, Eny, who was the only female trainee at that time, went through a detailed training program to both learn how to manage an oil palm plantation, but also to prepare her for the tough physical work.
After graduating from AALI, Eny did not expect to be placed in the research and development department, but decided to challenge herself to embrace the opportunity.
Early in her career as an agronomist, Eny was responsible for conducting agronomic trials, visiting and taking data from the field, then processing and presenting the data. Eny also conducting regular visits to plantations, as well as researching improved fertilization techniques to help oil palms grow more efficiently.
Now, Eny has worked at Asian Agri for 18 years as an agronomy researcher. And although she works hard, she has also embraced a wide variety of social activities as part of the Asian Agri community.
“I really love doing social activities especially helping others. Usually I help to collect donations from my colleagues and distribute it to disaster victims, orphans, and needy people,” she explains.
As well as a researcher, Eny is also a wife and mother. She says her husband and children have been extremely supportive of her career.
Eny has a message for all the women in Indonesia that in today’s modern era, women have the same career opportunities as men.
“I don’t think there is a specific job that only men can do - women can do it too if they really want to try. The advancement of science opens up opportunities for both men and women, so the most important thing is to dare to step out of the comfort zone to reach your maximum potential,” she says.