Motorcycles are the most popular vehicles in Indonesia, with around 113 million on the roads in 2019.
Bambang Yuliantoro, a second generation oil palm farmer partnered with Asian Agri, realized this presented the ideal business opportunity. Not only would a motorcycle repair shop supplement his income, it would also help him when his plantation underwent replanting.
Finally, five years ago, Bambang took out a bank loan to start a motorcycle repair shop.
"Initially, I had a good relationship with a banker who offered me a loan of IDR100 million. I used the money as initial capital in a motorcycle repair business. To be honest, at first I was just desperate because I didn't have the skills as a mechanic and I was also new to motorcycles,” he said.
He used the money to rent a shophouse and, as his skills improved, his business grew so quickly that he ended up buying the property.
Bambang says his business turnover has reached IDR10 million per month, which has enabled him to send his two children to university.
"This business was initiated to meet the needs of children who are in university. Thank God, now my first child, Novryan Rahma, has graduated from the Islamic University of Riau, and now my second child, Agustyan Putri is still undergoing her fifth semester at Institute of Health Science, Pekanbaru," he added.
Although many micro, small and medium enterprises are struggling during the pandemic, according to Bambang, his motorcycle workshop business is not affected.
“Thank God, until now this workshop business is still running smoothly and is still crowded with customers. In my opinion, maybe because my workshop is located in a village and not in a big city, people's activities are still running normally," said Bambang, who was born in Majalengka, West Java.
As well as managing his oil palm plantations and the motorcycle workshop, Bambang is now also expanding into other businesses, including raising boiler chickens and distributing LPG gas. If he remembers his previous life before his father took part in the government transmigration program (PIR Trans) to move from his hometown to Riau, Bambang feels very grateful.
“Before my father joined the government's transmigration program, our life was poor, and we had nothing. After the family decided to migrate from Majalengka to Riau in 1991, where we immediately partnered with Asian Agri, our lives slowly improved. Now, I'm in charge of taking care of the family's oil palm plantation after our father passed away," said Bambang.
As well as managing the family's oil palm plantation, Bambang also has his own oil palm plantation of four hectares, in partnership with Asian Agri. Bambang employs four local residents to take care of his oil palm plantation.
"Our relationship with Asian Agri is very harmonious. I have seen for myself how my father used to be assisted in managing oil palm plantations in a sustainable manner, given knowledge about fertilizers and superior seeds, therefore when I got my own plantation, I immediately decided to also partner with Asian Agri," said Bambang, who also serves as Secretary of the Sumber Rejeki Cooperative, Bukit Agung Village, Kerinci Kanan District.
The plantation business has fueled Bambang's entrepreneurial spirit, and also expanded employment opportunities for rural communities while improving their welfare.