Musim Mas and General Mills Collaborate to Build Smallholder Extension Services in Aceh's Leuser Ecosystem

Aug 3, 2020 10:00 AM ET
Press Release

ACEH, Indonesia, August 3, 2020 /3BL Media/ – Musim Mas Group (“Musim Mas” or “the Group”) and General Mills launched a joint program to build robust and sustainable extension services for the oil palm farmers in Aceh Singkil, Indonesia. The initiative is part of an overall strategy to reduce deforestation by improving livelihoods. Targeted at independent smallholders from villages neighboring the Leuser Ecosystem, the two parties will collaborate to integrate smallholder growers into the sustainable palm oil supply chain and reduce deforestation.

The program is part of Musim Mas’ vision to establish Smallholder Hubs that serve as a pre-competitive platform where companies can pool resources and share their expertise to train farmers. The primary objective is to develop sustainable extension services, benefiting the communities and the local government.

General Mills has pledged to fund the first year of the two-year program that aims to reach 1,000 smallholders. Deforestation in Aceh Singkil has mostly been attributed to small-scale encroachment, outside of concession areas1. Hence, it is crucial to focus efforts on smallholders.

The curriculum of the program includes Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), business management, and NDPE (No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation). These modules help to improve smallholders’ sustainability standards, increase their land productivity, and better manage their finances – all aspects integral to improving smallholders’ livelihoods.

“As part of General Mills ongoing commitment to protecting forests and peatlands, we see an increasing need to support on-the-ground activities that address the drivers of deforestation within high-risk production landscapes such as Indonesia’s Leuser Ecosystem,” said Kevin O’Donnell, Global Director of Sourcing and Operations Sustainability at General Mills. “This is especially the case with smallholder farmers who can benefit greatly from better access to technical expertise. We’re excited to leverage our experience advancing regenerative agriculture and sustainable sourcing innovation across a growing list of commodities with Musim Mas’ proven track record of success driving improved livelihood and forest positive results through smallholder extension hubs.”

Musim Mas is no stranger to developing and implementing smallholder programs, having engaged over 31,000 independent growers through various programs across Indonesia, including a partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, and successfully facilitating market access. To expand the program’s reach through a partnership with General Mills, Musim Mas will train governmental agricultural officers in targeted villages, who then will train the independent smallholders in their respective villages.

“Smallholdings represent at least 40% of Indonesia’s oil palm area and still need to progress in terms of sustainability and productivity. The extension services provided through our Smallholders Hubs deliver better agricultural practices that directly benefit farmers' livelihoods and landscape sustainability,” said Olivier Tichit, Musim Mas Director of Sustainable Supply Chain. “Our collaboration with General Mills will scale up our outreach to smallholders and integrate them into sustainable supply chains.”

About Musim Mas

Headquartered in Singapore, Musim Mas is one of the world’s largest, integrated palm oil corporations with operations in every part of the supply chain across the Americas, Europe and Asia. Our global workforce pursues innovative and sustainable developments, ensuring product quality, safety and efficiency as the industry evolves.

As one of the most prominent players in the industry, it aspires to be a responsible leader in the evolution of the industry, driving a new era of sustainability with innovation. To that end, we take active steps to go beyond industry-recognized sustainability standards and will continue to step up in response to critical industry issues in our quest to contribute to a more sustainable industry and equitable world.

About General Mills

General Mills is a leading global food company whose purpose is to make food the world loves. Its brands include Cheerios, Annie's, Yoplait, Nature Valley, Häagen-Dazs, Betty Crocker, Pillsbury, Old El Paso, Wanchai Ferry, Yoki, BLUE and more. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, General Mills generated fiscal 2020 net sales of U.S. $17.6 billion. In addition, General Mills’ share of non-consolidated joint venture net sales totaled U.S. $1.0 billion.