Our fire-free programme, Desa Makmur Peduli Api (previously known as Desa Siaga Api) works with communities and indigenous groups living in fire-prone areas to minimise incidences of forest fires and haze through both short and long-term measures.
Our first step is to engage these groups in education and provide them with facilities and equipment to prevent fires. To achieve longer-term change we need to address the root causes of fire which lie in the need for communities to feed themselves and earn an income. We teach the community organic and ecological farming of new vegetable crops, which brings a host of benefits such as added food security, reduced expenditure on food, increased income from selling surplus crops, and most importantly, zero burning from the clearing of land.
In less than two years, the programme has been successful in reducing the number of fires and hotspots where it is run. However, it is not without its challenges as traditions and mindsets can sometimes be difficult to change. We speak with Susanto Yang, CEO of Sinar Mas Plantations in Ketapang and Semitau, to find out more about the origin of the Desa Makmur Peduli Api programme, its evolution, and its results so far.