The Forest Scribe

Public Figures’ Role Crucial in Fighting Fires in Peat Soil

Recognizing the important role played by public figures in the prevention of fires in peat soil, the Peat Restoration Agency (BRG) and private company PT Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food are collaborating in assisting local public figures in educating their communities on how to prevent fires in peatland.

A series of activities in education and capacity building targeting public leaders has been held under the Peat-Aware Village (DPG) Program as part of the collaboration, a written release for the company said. The DPG program is a development program in priority peat restoration areas of the BRG.

“Through this DPG Program, we are making an effort so that there are no more fires taking place in peat soil. We have already been able to implement this program in other areas in Indonesia. This cooperation with Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food will help accelerate the DPG program so that we can reach a wider public and obtain a bigger positive impact,” said Myrna A Safitri, BRG Deputy of Education, Promotion, Participation and Partnership.

As influential public figures in villages, including in the peat rich provinces of Riau, Jambi and West Kalimantan, figures who engages in the act of inviting p  eople to embrace Islam and propagate the faith who are known as Da’Is, have been chosen as targets for this program, the Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food statement said,

An online event using Skype titled “Training workshop for Da’Is of Peat-Aware Mosques,” was recently held simultaneously in the three provinces. The event also involved the Central Headquarters of the Indonesian Council of Ulemas (MUI) and various environment and climate change experts from National University.

Training workshop for Da’Is of Peat-Aware at local Mosque

It was hoped that through this training, the capacity of Peat-Aware Da’Is  could be strengthened, especially in relations to peat restoration and the development of eco-mosques.

BRG’s DPG program provides a framework for the harmonization of various village developments in peat areas, especially those villages inside and around peat restoration areas. The approach taken is to build comprehensive cooperation between villages within the same peat landscape.

The collaboration will continue until the end of the year with the holding of various activities in Riau, Jambi and West Kalimantan, in areas with wide expanses of peatland.

Besides enhancing the preparedness of village communities in facing fires in peat areas, and also in improving their knowledge on good peat management, the collaboration would also help improve the economic welfare of the communities through the implementation of the Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food’s Fire-Aware and Prosperous Village (DMPA) Program.

It is expected that in the long term, villages taking part in this DPG program would no longer burn peat land and would be capable of managing the peat ecosystem in a sustainable manner.

“We welcome the cooperation with the Peat Restoration Agency. We are awarded that forest and peatland fire prevention efforts necessitate a multi-sectoral cooperation in order to accelerate them,” said Agus Purnomo, Managing Director, Sustainability, Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food.

He said that in the company’s experience has shown that preventing forest and ground forests through the DMPA program, and efforts to rehabilitate peat land under the DPG program in cooperation with the BRG, had been able to proceed well.

The Social and Environmental Policy of Golden Agri-Resources (GAR) of which Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food is part, has further strengthened the company’s commitment in protecting peatland, the statement said.

Since the fires in 2015, Sinar Mas Agribusiness and Food, with the important support of local communities, has been able to conduct peat rehabilitation project covering 2,600 hectares of peat conservation areas within the concessions of PT Agro Lestari Mandiri (PT AMNL), in Ketapang, West Kalimantan.

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