(Planting Trees: A Sustainable Initiative in Bojonegoro) Trate village, in the Sugihwaras District of Bojonegoro Regency, is landscape that’s prone to drought. Three neighboring villages – Papringan, Pandangtoyo, and Jono – have similar troubles. During the dry season, communities living here experience prolonged drought and water scarcity, making access to clean water a major challenge.
Now, as part of a collaboration between Trees4Trees, Alliance One Indonesia (AOI), and Indonesia Tri Sembilan (ITS), a coordinated initiative is underway to address environmental concerns and support local communities. In 2023, this initiative focused on planting trees in those four villages of Sugihwaras district.
Working With Partners to Grow a Better World
On December 12, 2023, 550 trees were planted in Trate Village, as part of a tree planting program based on the following theme: Let’s Green the Planet, Growing a Better World. The event featured members of Trees4Trees and the local community, along with around 20 volunteers comprising staff members from AOI and ITS.
“This is our contribution to the planet,” commented Cleomar Panno, AOI’s National Agronomy Manager, during the event. “It won’t change the world completely, but at least it will be beneficial for this area, including the local community. And the most important thing is they will be able to harvest the results later.”
This tree planting initiative reflects the companies’ commitment within the tobacco industry to contribute to preserving nature and support the local communities who partner with them as tobacco producers.
Iba Swasono is the Operational Manager of Bojonegoro Regency for PT. AOI, who emphasizes the importance of environmental restoration to both companies. “We recognize that every business, including ours, contributes to environmental degradation,” said Iba while volunteering in Trate. “This tree planting initiative is our responsible action to give back what we have taken from nature. Through this activity, we aim to restore balance by giving back, working to minimize the effects of environmental degradation,” Iba added.
Restoring the environment, empowering farmers
In addition to the initial event in Trate, 5,000 more trees are scheduled for planting in early 2024.
Khoirum Minan is the Trees4Trees Pati Unit Manager overseeing this regional program, which will involve planting avocado, teak, and indigofera trees. Another initiative will introduce four more tree types – kaliandra, petai, water apple, and elephant thorn (locally known as klampis) – selected for their ability to improve soil and conserve water.
“After our initial assessments, Trate Village and the three other villages were identified as having soil prone to dryness,” explains Khoirum. “As a result, we opted for trees that are well-suited to these soil conditions and can address water scarcity concerns. Teak, for example, thrives in dry-prone areas, and water apples contribute to water conservation,” he explained.
According to Khoirum, these types of trees bring environmental benefits but also offer economic value:. “Avocado trees provide fruits that local communities can enjoy, while indigofera, in addition to improving soil conditions during drought, yields leaves rich in protein that serve as fodder for the cattle raised by the local community.”
Sustainable tree planting program
AOI and ITS are committed to building on these positive benefits, with a target of 53,000 trees planted in Bojonegoro by 2030.
This sustainable tree –planting initiative aims to combat climate change as a global concern, reduce carbon emissions, address environmental issues in villages around the district (particularly water scarcity and drought), and support local community livelihoods.
Yossy Zahra is the Environmental and Social Governance (ESG) Assistant Manager at AOI. She confirmed that the company’s tree planting program forms part of a wider scheme designed to generate long-term benefits for both the environment and society. In addition to conservation, AOI is aiming to bolster the incomes of local community members through products that come from the new trees.
“This initiative is a component of our ESG program, which covers crops, environment, and people, with a specific focus on the environment,” explains Yossy, before adding that carbon offsetting, and crop diversification are their main areas of focus. “Through these efforts, our goal is to provide our farmer partners with tree products that they can either sell or utilize to meet their needs.,”
At the beginning of a New Year, the residents of Bojonegoro Regency can look forward to a new era of productivity, landscape stability, and availability of resources. With support from AOI and ITS, Trees4Trees is planting the seeds of a more sustainable future in East Java.