When he was a janitor earning just 250,000 Rupiah (about $28 US) a month, Rasyidi never allowed himself to dream of the future. Survival was everything.
Now that he’s in the cattle business- and quadrupling his monthly income -Rasyidi’s world has changed and he lives happier.
Rasyidi’s new outlook is the result of a unique “small business loan” he secured from the PT Indah Kiat Pulp & Paper Tbk in Perawang (Indah Kiat Perawang).
“I received a pregnant cow loaned from by the community development division of Indah Kiat Perawang,” he said outside his rustic ranch near Indah Kiat Perawang’s operations. “It took only a month before the cow gave birth to a calf. And seven months later, the company took back the mother.”
From the original calf, Rasyidi’s herd has grown to seven cows. By selling the cow’s manure to nearby palm oil farms, which they use as fertilizer, he is able to provide food, shelter and a dependable way of life for his family.
Indah Kiat Perawang hopes to replicate Rasyidi’s story throughout the area. "We realize that the local people have enormous potential,” said Ketut Piter, Section Chief of Community Development, Indah Kiat Perawang.
He said that Indah Kiat Perawang plans to expand its unorthodox pregnant-cow loan program. And the company will continue to offer villagers education and training about cattle farming, while providing them a reliable source of cattle feed.
“We have green bushes that can be used as fodder,” he said. “The local community can use these green bushes-free of charge-to feed their cattle.”
Indah Kiat Perawang is where Rasyidi spends much of his workday, usually focused on his cows.
“I think about them every day,” he said. But Rasyidi admits that he now allows himself an occasional daydream.
“I dream of having a 1989 Kijang super pickup (to carry the cattle fodder),” Rasyidi said, pointing to the motorcycle he uses to haul feed. “I only have this motorcycle that I borrow from my brother in Pekanbaru.”
For most people, an older pickup truck might seem a modest wish. But a former janitor, it’s more than he ever dreamed.