Asian Agri hosted 16 professors and academics from Harvard Business School on 22 June 2017.
Kelvin Tio, Managing Director of Asian Agri, gave the visitors a tour of the training center in Buatan, where he highlighted the company’s focus on partnering with smallholders to raise their productivity and increase their incomes. He explained how Asian Agri provides smallholders with high-yielding Topaz seedlings, training in best practices and sustainability, and a system of integrated pest management to reduce the need for chemicals.
The in-class discussion was followed by a site visit to the Buatan estate where they were shown best practices in managing oil palm estate including the use of all waste material from the production process as fertilizer and biofuel to ensure that all parts of the oil palm are used. They also saw the barn owls that are used to catch rats as an alternative to poison, and the insects Asian Agri breeds to control the number of caterpillars that eat oil palm.
The visit received an enthusiastic reception from the attendees, most of whom had never visited an oil palm plantation in person.
To conclude the tour, they were taken through the villages where Asian Agri first built houses for the smallholders in 1986, and saw how increasing prosperity had enabled them to improve and grow their communities.
Finally they visited a replanting area to learn how Asian Agri helps smallholders earn alternative income through projects such as cattle farming while their oil palms are replanted at the end of their productive life.
This half-day visit allowed the visitors from Harvard Business School to learn first-hand about best practices and sustainability in Indonesia palm oil industry.