Asian Agri, one of the leading palm oil producers serving a global market, recently collaborated with the Tanoto Foundation in an innovative way to assist struggling fish farmers in Indonesia. Farmers based in Desa Bukit Agung, in Riau’s Siak District, had curtailed their patin fish farming businesses because of the rapidly rising costs of feed. Asian Agri was able to provide fish feed made of repurposed palm oil waste from its processing plants, and the farmers of the district began to revive their cultivation of the popular fish.
Asian Agri is one of the natural resources production companies under the RGE Group of corporations founded by entrepreneur Sukanto Tanoto. Realizing that their success would enable them to give back to the local communities in which they do business, Mr. Tanoto and his wife began the Tanoto Foundation as a means of offering educational opportunities and social services to Indonesia’s under-resourced citizens. By working with RGE Group companies and other partners, the Tanoto Foundation has awarded higher education and business development scholarships, enhanced entrepreneurial training, and rebuilt infrastructure for people all over Indonesia. Because the Asian Agri palm oil waste fish feed costs only about one-third as much as traditional feed, the Desa Bukit Agung farmers have rushed back into the industry.
Worldwide, the demand for fish continues to rise. Popular fish produced in Southeast Asia include tilapia and grass carp, as well as patin, a type of freshwater catfish. Yet in Indonesia and other countries in the region, a number of obstacles stand in the way of producers. Not only the cost of feed, but expenses associated with tariffs on electricity and rising fuel costs, have curtailed fish farming efforts in the wider area. Thanks to the Tanoto Foundation, one group of fish farming businesses is now well on its way to achieving a solid footing in this market.
In addition, the program has the desirable ripple effect of improving the quality of life for the farmers and their families, as well as contributing to long-term environmental sustainability.
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