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PT GMM Pushes for Plasma Farm Development in South Halmahera

By March 13, 2024 No Comments

Photo: PT Gelora Mandiri Membangun (PT GMM) staff harvesting oil palms at the plantation. PT GMM is a business unit of Tunas Sawa Erma (TSE) Group that operates in South Halmahera Regency, North Maluku Province

SOUTH HALMAHERA – As the only locally-owned private palm oil firm in South Halmahera, North Maluku Province, PT Gelora Mandiri Membangun (PT GMM) has long established communication with its neighbor communities regarding plasma farm or smallholding development and maintained talks to avoid any misunderstandings.

Rahman Basir, secretary for Gane Bersatu Cooperative (a local association for Gane plasma farmers) explained that in the last few years, the company has done its part to educate the locals that plasma farms are a community’s right and they are regulated by Article 11 of Agriculture Ministerial Regulation 26/2007.

“I think the people needed more time to fully grasp what the farm’s presence would mean [to the community], and that led to the protests. And these caused issues with the location where the farm’s nursery would be built. But instead of ignoring the problem and standing by, the company continued to reach out to stakeholders, including local government bodies like the Development Planning Board (Bappeda) and the Agriculture & Food Security Service,” said Basir in his office.

Thanks to consistent promotion of the project and good relations with South Halmahera residents, the farm has now shown progress. “We had the reports and plans ready in 2023, so we can proceed with propagation this year. And the company is ensuring the [nursery] construction process stay on schedule,” Basir added.

Eventually, nearby communities saw the importance of plasma farms and are now fully on board with the plan. “From my observations, they are interested in ways to get the farm finished faster,” said Yamli village leader Ilyas Kadari.

Good things have come to locals ever since the company established its presence in the region, he said. PT GMM has opened jobs that, in his opinion, have improved community prosperity and buying power.

“We’ve reaped so many benefits, especially here in the village, after PT GMM showed up. From barely making ends meet, we’ve now gotten better financially, thanks to [local] recruitment efforts. The company has also given us a road access [for traveling around]. We’re grateful PT GMM makes it possible for us to thrive. Our people can work and feed their households.”

Plasma farm development, in principle, is one way for the local government and PT GMM to pay attention to the settlements around the company’s operational site. Solely donating saplings without covering production costs will make planting difficult for individual smallholders, given the huge amount of money needed to run an oil palm plantation.

The idea of this farm comes from the concept of a biological cell, which has two parts: nucleus and plasma. Under a partnership scheme, the company acts as the “nucleus” while local, smaller farmers are the “plasma”. “Nucleus”’s task is to help “plasma” prepare for farm maintenance, management, and harvest storage, and guide “plasma” throughout the process. (*)



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