Planet Indonesia addresses the economic needs of rural communities through preserving their local ecosystems.
The award-winning NGO Planet Indonesia is working to bridge economic prosperity and environmental protection in the West Kalimatan Province of Indonesia, home to one of the highest poverty rates of the country and a biodiversity hotspot. In absence of economic opportunities, local rural populations have been driven to exploit their surrounding environment for survival. Yet, on the long term, dependency on these overexploited resources has generated a cycle of increased poverty and environmental degradation.
Understanding that the only sustainable solution is to simultaneously address economic needs of local populations while preserving at-risk ecosystems, Planet Indonesia has developed a community-centred conservation model to enable communities and nature to thrive in harmony.
The model is based on the creation of conservation cooperatives that provide a wealth of services to their members to establish sustainable livelihoods coupled with conservation commitments. Services include healthcare, education, access to capital to launch small businesses, as well as opportunities and incentives to manage and protect forests, lands, wildlife and fishery.
The Trafigura Foundation is supporting Planet Indonesia through a three-year partnership to back the organisation’s two-fold intervention in support of 2,400 farmer and fisher households in 18 villages in West Kalimatan.
A targeted land-based intervention aims at training groups of farmers on regenerative agricultural practices and agroforestry techniques. The objective of training farmers in sustainable and organic farming methods will be to increase soil fertility and improve harvest rates for their crops. Planet Indonesia will also support farmers to plant and regenerate native species. This training will establish ‘Farmer Field Schools’ to enable participating farmers to learn together and share knowledge and experiences amongst each other.
Similarly, a coast-based intervention will help small-scale fishers employ periodic fishery closures to sustain fish population. By training and supporting coastal communities on sustainable fishing practices, Planet Indonesia expects to improve yields of fast growing high value invertebrate species by 30-75%.
Across both terrestrial and coastal sites, Planet Indonesia will enable access to capital to support the creation of income-generating opportunities for cooperatives’ members, thereby helping them diversify their livelihoods and improve their economic resilience.
Initial evaluations of Planet Indonesia’s holistic model have shown some impressive results. Farmers already participating in Planet Indonesia's conservation cooperatives witnessed higher harvest rates for 12 commodities that were grown using sustainable farming techniques learned through the programme’s training activities. Moreover, interventions on costal sites have so far resulted in the improvement in fish biomass by an average of 35-50%.
Planet Indonesia’s intervention also plants the seeds for sustainability at the local community level, building ownership and self-sufficiency of each “cooperative”, so that they may take the lead in protecting and preserving their natural resources.