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Bunge partners with Musim Mas to promote sustainable palm oil production in Indonesia

Bunge and Musim Mas Group have joined forces to foster sustainable practices among smallholder farmers in Sambas, West Kalimantan, Indonesia. The collaboration aims to provide training for over 1,000 independent smallholders, equipping them with the skills needed for sustainable palm oil production. The partnership aligns with the Agriculture Sector Roadmap to 1.5 Degrees as enacted by the Tropical Forest Alliance. The roadmap is designed to motivate the agriculture sector to halt commodity-linked deforestation while enhancing the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and supporting the sector's transformation toward forest-positive land use. Ben Vreeburg, senior director of sustainability for Bunge, said: "We believe that together with our customers, we can build sustainable supply chains by sharing our know-how and experiences to support the smallholder farmers, promoting the productivity, profitability and sustainability of their business. By adopting sustainable farming practices, smallholders can increase their yields and reduce their dependence on expanding into the forest areas." A core aspect of the partnership is the sixth 'Train-the-Trainers Smallholders Hub' led by Musim Mas. These hubs train local government village extension officers who then share their expertise with smallholder farmers within their communities over time, resulting in long-lasting, long-term impacts. The training will cover good agricultural practices, business management and the ‘No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation’ approach to palm production. The programme will help smallholders improve their understanding of the environmental impacts of their activities and create responsible practices in the community. The training will also cover increasing yields and earnings from their existing farmland. Musim Mas has engaged over 42,000 independent growers since it started its programmes in 2015, including a notable partnership with the International Finance Corporation. Olivier Tichit, director of sustainability for Musim Mas Group, said: "To make an enduring impact, we need to show our commitment and work together...We look forward to working with Bunge in the Sambas region and making a meaningful contribution together." Bunge supports this partnership with extensive experience in supporting smallholders through initiatives like ILHAM (Inisiatif Lestari untuk Hasil Agrikultur Mampan), which focuses on improving farm management practices and meeting sustainability requirements. Through this collaboration, Musim Mas hopes to take Bunge's knowledge and experience from their work in Malaysia to enhance and expand the programme in Sambas.

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