Women can inspire environmental conservation and forestry to make the Earth better while still carrying out their roles in the family.
This was proven by champion female figures who were speakers at the Mother's Day Commemoration talkshow session of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK), in Jakarta, Thursday, 22 December 2022.
One of these figures is Rita Ayuwandari, Leader of the Mekar Wangi Women Farmers Group (KWT) in Dataran Kempas Village, Tebing Tinggi, Tanjung Jabung Barat, Jambi. Rita as a women champion from the Director General of Sustainable Forest Management (PHL) shows the partnership built with the company as the permit holder with the community. Rita and 20 of her members develop red ginger cultivation and process it into powdered drinks and food with a revenue of up to 40 million rupiah per month.
"Women must be active, creative, innovative, and productive," said Rita in the talk show session which also took place in a hybrid manner and was broadcast throughout Indonesia.
Rita said, KWT Mekar Wangi began to develop red ginger cultivation since 2017 through the Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) Sinar Mas Desa Makmur Peduli Api (DMPA) Program. Through the DMPA program, KWT Mekar Wangi members receive training on environmentally friendly red ginger cultivation.
“In the past, villagers cleared land for cultivation by burning, now we understand that this should not be done. The women of our members are also inspired to do cultivation without burning the land," she said.
Through the DMPA program, KWT Mekar Wangi also received facilitation from the Horticulture Service and the Cooperative, Industry, and Trade Office so that they could process the cultivated red ginger into high-value downstream products.
According to Rita, initially KWT Mekar Wangi was only able to produce 5 kilograms of red ginger per month. As of now, production has reached 100-200 kilograms per month.
The red ginger drink powder produced by KWT Mekar Wangi has now been marketed throughout Indonesia using the marketplace network. "In the past we could only market it around the village, now our products have been marketed in mini markets as well as throughout Indonesia online," said Rita proudly.
The development of KWT Mekar Wangi inspired the emergence of other groups in 10 villages in 5 sub-districts spread across Jambi. In addition, Rita is often invited to various forums to share her experience and knowledge in developing red ginger beverage products.
Even though she's getting busier, Rita says she hasn't left her role as a mother in her family. By developing red ginger, she could even help the family's economy while still paying great attention to the family because her work could be done at home.
She emphasized that women must be active, creative, innovative, and productive. "There is a 5M principle that I hold, Women must be able to plant, produce, sell, be profitable, and preserve the environment," she said.
The message conveyed by Rita was in line with the expectations conveyed by the Minister of Environment and Forestry Siti Nurbaya when delivering her remarks.
According to Minister Siti, women have a big role in protecting the earth. That's why, there is the term Mother Earth. Siti also invited women to equip themselves with knowledge as first educators for their children, including in protecting the environment.
“The relationship between the Earth and humans is like a mother and her child. Love each other and give life," added Minister Siti.
Meanwhile, Chief Sustainability Officer APP Sinar Mas Elim Sritaba stated, "We hope that the women empowerment programs that have been and are being implemented can benefit the smallest unit of society, namely the family, as well as the environment in which we operate. We also continue to carry out various initiatives and identify opportunities for other women's empowerment programs by opening up opportunities for collaboration with various parties, to ensure that the company consistently runs a sustainable business and together create a better future," concluded Elim.
The DMPA program itself has targeted women empowerment since 2016, including the cultivation of red ginger and herbal plants, dry food or snack businesses, arts and crafts, beauty services, horticulture, farming, and many more.