Inside Sukanto Tanoto’s integrated pest management program at Asian Agri

At the heart of its operations, Asian Agri keeps sustainability and protection of the local environment top-of-mind – a key business value that is hard-driven by company founder, business leader and entrepreneur, Mr. Sukanto Tanoto. Asian Agri represents one of Indonesia’s largest palm oil producers, with 27 palm oil estates established in Riau, Jambi and Northern Sumatra, totaling 160 000 hectares of land. As such, it is the company’s mission to protect their greatest asset – the land and environment that has brought them immense success.

A local palm plantation manager demonstrates care for a natural pest predator.

Asian Agri pest management

Along with the farming and management of such a large expanse of land comes its fair share of tribulations, namely in the form of natural pests such as rats and caterpillars. But Chairman Tanoto and key members of Asian Agri recognize that the use of harsh chemicals to counter-act a ‘pest problem’, would indeed be counter-productive, and ultimately, harmful to the land, planters and consumers.

With the support and direction of Chairman Tanoto, Director of Asian Agri, Mr. Freddy Widjaya, weighed in on the importance of unharmful and sustainable pest control practices:

‘The sphere of business at Asian Agri is inseparable from our interaction with nature. On this soil, the seeds of our best oil palms flourish and grow, benefiting many people. Therefore, we must have the responsibility to maintain the natural order to ensure that the soil remains at its best condition.’

Establishing a natural solution

Asian Agri has thus developed an ingenious solution to these two pest control issues that are both smart and completely natural to the surrounding environment, in the form of owls and hibiscus flowers.

To solve the issue of rats within the palm plantations, managers have turned to natural predators, such as the owl, and for every 25 hectares of palm plantation, there is an owl dwelling in which owls naturally stalk out the rats. The method has since been established as completely natural and effective.

Hibiscus flowers have been implemented to solve the problem with caterpillar infestations. By planting these flowers among the palm trees – instead of attacking the palm leaves, the caterpillars have been diverted to the hibiscus flowers instead. Additionally, Asian Agri, with the sanction and encouragement of Mr. Tanoto, avoids using chemicals for pest control, using only organic fertilizers, and does not use fire as a means of clearing or replanting trees.

To keep up with sustainability stories and developments within Asian Agri or the RGE group of companies, such as this one, we invite you to follow company Chairman, Mr. Sukanto Tanoto on: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or LinkedIn.