Sukanto Tanoto, one of Indonesia’s leading entrepreneurs and the founder and current chairman of the $15 billion RGE Group, works with the goal of improving the lives of people in the communities in which his company operates. His philanthrophy initiatives are not only contained within the Tanoto Foundation (founded by Sukanto Tanoto), but have also spread to his businesses, beyond just the normal corporate social responsibility.
Empowerment of the local community is the best way to provide them with a door to freedom. It is through this empowerment that the whole community grows and improves, impacting the next generation in unimaginable ways.
Asian Agri, an RGE constituent firm focusing on the production of palm oil, currently maintains some 60,000 hectares of plantation land in Indonesia dedicated to its plasma and KKPA partnering programs with Sumatran smallholder farmers. Over the past two decades, Sukanto Tanoto and Asian Agri have helped these farmers to raise their standard of living significantly and provide previously undreamed-of opportunities for themselves and their families.
The Asian Agri smallholder partnership relationship has become one of the most successful cooperative economic programs in Indonesia, benefitting close to 30,000 agricultural families and bringing an increased level of infrastructure development to their communities. Recently, several farmers wrote personal testimonials to share their stories of how they gained financial security and prosperity through their own hard work and determination, assisted by their relationship with Asian Agri. They have been able to provide their families with better homes, transportation, and education thanks to this partnership.
One small farmer told of his early struggles in the 1990s to build a secure future for his wife and children. He and his family left their life in the city and moved to a palm oil plantation. Working with extensive assistance from Asian Agri, they learned the best techniques for maintaining the palm trees and cultivating and harvesting the palm oil. Asian Agri continued to provide long-term, in-depth training programs and consistent support. The farmer earned leadership positions within his local agricultural KUD and went on to study palm oil cultivation in other countries. Able to retire before the age of 50, he has been able to purchase cars and homes for his children and to enjoy the results of his dedication and success.