Asian Agri’s commitment to managing environmentally friendly and sustainable plantations is not only limited to smallholders.
Asian Agri is aware that students should also learn good and sustainable plantation practices, especially those who live in areas surrounding the plantations. It was for this reason that Asian Agri first launched the Sekolah Sawit Lestari program.
SMK Negeri I Pangkalan Kerinci, Riau is the latest school to adopt subjects within the Sekolah Sawit Lestari program, inculcating them into its plantation curriculum with the aim of allowing students to gain knowledge about good palm oil plantation practices.
The local government is also involved with the program. Along with the school, the local government also provides plantation land as a practicum laboratory. “We are seeing the need for a new generation who is ready to continue the best plantation practices. In addition to classroom meetings, they also practice in the laboratory and share the harvest,” said Benjamin RH, Asian Agri CSR Officer.
For SMK Negeri I Pangkalan Kerinci, the program fulfills the knowledge requirements of students, especially the agriculture faculty. Nuraisa, Principal of SMK Negeri I Pangkalan Kerinci hopes that the lessons will be useful for the community. “Most students come from farming families so these lessons can also benefit the community,” she said.
M. Lukman, a student of the plantation department says that the subjects about palm oil are very interesting. “I’ll be able to apply the knowledge I’ve gained through these subjects in the working world,” he says.
SMK Negeri I Pangkalan Kerinci is the second school involved in the Sekolah Sawit Lestari program. The previous edition of the program saw Asian Agri working with SMA Negeri 11 Batang Hari in Jambi.
Asian Agri is targeting more schools to be involved in the Sekolah Sawit Lestari program.