Great things can happen when adults take orders from a bunch of kids, says Andar Tarihoran.
Tarihoran is a worker at one of APP’s mills, PT Pindo Deli Pulp & Paper Mills in Karawang (Pindo Deli Karawang), who has helped develop the mill’s new Agro-Education Park, a 5,000-square-meter parcel dedicated to plant research and the development and protection of crops. However, groups of kids from a junior high school and a handful of nearby youth clubs are helping to direct it all.
Each group has a plot of land where it designates the plant species to be cultivated and studied. Guided by agricultural research experts from a nearby university, the children initially developed their planting schemes in the classroom.
“The kids decided which seeds to grow, which types of fertilizers to use and how it would be irrigated,” Tarihoran said. They do at least once a month monitoring to check the progress and make adjustments to their plans.
“This is a real-life agricultural experiment for the children,” Tarihoran said, looking out at rows of corn, stands of banana trees and other crops planted in the park. “They learn what works and what doesn’t, and then they can take that knowledge back home with them. This not only helps them raise the standards of living in their communities, but also helps to improve and protect the green environment.”
In addition to the plot for the students’ experiment, Pindo Deli Karawang also allocated plots to be managed by various community groups such as the local youth organization, women organization and the company’s labor union.
The local youth organization and local women organization sell the harvested crops from their plots to fund their daily activities, while the company’s labor union distribute their harvested crops to local villagers and schools as a campaign to consume more healthy organic vegetables.
To help the various local groups care for the land and crops day-to-day, Pindo Deli Karawang employed several local villagers through a local cooperative.
Tarihoran said villagers welcome the opportunity to help manage the land because it means steady jobs taking care of the plots.