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Creating responsible palm oil warriors with Ksatria Sawit

Posted: Oct 15, 2019 3 minute read GAR

GAR’s latest supplier support programme, Ksatria Sawit, pairs our supplier mills with agtech company Koltiva, to help us achieve 100 percent Traceability To Plantation (TTP) by 2020.

The programme aims to reach out to areas where many of our supplier mills are buying from smallholders, and traces their agents and farmers. Since its launch in April 2019, we have covered provinces such as Aceh, North/South Sumatra, Riau, Jambi, Lampung, and Bangka Belitung. Leading this project is Justinus Kriswantoro, who estimates this effort will help us trace almost 60,000 smallholders. 

What is Ksatria Sawit and what are its goals?

Justinus: Ksatria Sawit means ‘palm oil warrior’ in English. The name is also an abbreviation which means transforming the supply chain through independent smallholders and agents, that’s why we chose the name. This programme reflects one of the pillars of our GAR Social and Environmental Policy (GSEP) which is to build a traceable and transparent supply chain that extends to farmers, and is a continuation of our efforts since 2015.

At the end of 2018, we were 62 percent traceable to the plantation. From our research, we found that the majority of our supply chain that had not yet been traced were mills who bought a lot of raw materials from agents, who collect Fresh Fruit Bunches (FFB) from independent smallholders. These two groups of people – independent smallholders and agents – are an important part of our supply chain, and we needed to make an effort to understand the problems they face and work with them to improve their practices.

We initiated Ksatria Sawit where we work together with palm oil mills, agents and independent smallholders, to achieve full traceability.

The Ksatria Sawit programme held at the Arya Duta Hotel in Medan.

How is Ksatria Sawit run?

Justinus: We organise region-specific Ksatria Sawit workshops for our suppliers, to educate them on the traceability process. There, we introduce them to our supply chain mapping partner, Koltiva. GAR provides the suppliers’ profiles, then Koltiva follows up by conducting field surveys with the mills, agents and smallholder farmers. By bringing multiple mills together, sharing resources and working at a landscape level, we hope to accomplish TTP much more quickly.

Ksatria Sawit being conducted with the management of Runding Putra Persada Mill.

What have we accomplished so far?

Justinus: As of 14 October, Ksatria Sawit has been run in regencies from Aceh to Lampung. More than 50 mills have participated in the programme. Through these mills, we have also reached 34,665 dealers and farmers who manage a collective plantation area of 271,989 hectares.

What is the feedback from suppliers?

Justinus: We have gotten positive responses from mill management representatives, agents and independent smallholders who have been involved so far. Many of our suppliers recognise that transparency and collaboration between the different parts of the supply chain are important to building an industry that preserves the environment, and helps communities.

Interview and traceability application introduction to farmers.
Interview and traceability application introduction to farmers.

How do you personally feel about the programme?

Justinus: Personally, I am very pleased because I can feel the participants’ interest in Ksatria Sawit. The smallholders and agents especially, have been very active and involved the moment we introduced this programme to them. I can see that they are appreciative of being called to be part of this larger initiative to be traceable.

What’s next?

Justinus: The big target everyone is working towards now is 100 percent TTP by 2020. But traceability is not actually the end goal. We use these traceability exercises as a means of engaging our suppliers and understanding their needs, with the true end goal of transforming the way they operate.

From our interactions to date, there are many areas of support we have identified, such as supplying oil palm seedlings, supporting efforts for oil palm replanting, and training in good agronomy practices. So even after reaching TTP, we will continue our efforts to get to know our supply chain and play an active role in helping our suppliers make improvements.

Learn more about how we source responsibly here.

Justinus Kriswantoro is the Head of Traceability in GAR’s Responsible Sourcing team, and is responsible for communicating and organising the company’s traceability programme. He has over 20 years of experience in the fields of surveying, mapping and geographic information systems. Justinus graduated from the Gadjah Mada University (Faculty of Geography) with a degree in Cartography and Remote Sensing.
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