East Belitung, June 14, 2023 – In its dedication to nurturing a productive community, PT Sahabat Mewah Makmur (SMM), a subsidiary of PT Austindo Nusantara Jaya Tbk. (ANJ) situated in East Belitung, is actively addressing inflation control by empowering the local community through horticultural cultivation.
Juli Wankara Purba, the President Director of SMM, pointed out that Bangka Belitung province has witnessed inflation rates surpassing 5%. President Joko Widodo addressed this concern during his 2022 National Inflation Control Coordination Meeting speech.
Juli explained, "One primary contributing factor is the dependency on external sources for essential household items such as chilies, onions, rice, and vegetables. East Belitung, in particular, relies heavily on supplies from outside the island for these necessities."
Since 2020, SMM has helped local communities to grow inflation-resistant crops, such as freshwater fish, vegetables, chilies, and rice, using a flexible system. This initiative has boosted the regional economy, raised incomes, improved community well-being, and helped to control inflation.
The community empowerment efforts of the SMM team extend to various segments of society within the company's operational areas, involving individuals of all ages, such as mothers, fathers, and youth, in a range of empowerment activities. Several community groups have been formed, including the Miana group specializing in home garden agriculture, the Mina Jaya group dedicated to freshwater fish cultivation in Jaya Bakti Hamlet, Dendang Village, and the Aik Kik Apau fish cultivator group engaged in freshwater fish farming alongside the cultivation of anti-inflation crops like vegetables, chilies, onions, and floating rice in Aik Rutan Hamlet, Dendang Village, Dendang District.
"SMM, as part of the ANJ Group, is committed to offering equal opportunities to all local community members within our operational areas, with the ultimate goal of achieving shared prosperity. Through our community development programs, we have introduced initiatives to generate economic opportunities for the communities in which we operate. These initiatives include cultivating food crops and freshwater fish in home gardens, as well as on previously unproductive land, such as former mining sites,” Juli explained.
Besides assisting and supporting communities in horticultural cultivation, SMM empowers them with the technical expertise needed to attain self-sufficiency through regular training sessions. These sessions encompass composting techniques using grass and rejected plants, eco-enzyme production from vegetable and household fruit waste, and producing liquid smoke as an eco-friendly alternative to chemical fertilizers and insecticides.
SMM also fosters innovation within communities by promoting the use of solar cell light traps to reduce specific pests without the need for chemical pesticides. Additionally, SMM advocates for the benefit of refugia plants to deter pests naturally.
In freshwater fish farming, SMM actively supports and guides communities associated with the Aik Kik Apau and Mina Jaya fish cultivator groups. This support includes infrastructure provisions, such as nets and fish feed, and training in organizational governance and group administration, ensuring that these groups achieve self-sufficiency in their operations.
"Due to our community empowerment initiatives, the assisted community groups engaged in food crop and freshwater fish cultivation have succeeded in their businesses. Members of these groups have managed to save between Rp 300.000 to Rp 500.000 per month. Furthermore, some harvested crops have been sold, leading to economic benefits for the communities through our program." Juli concluded.
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