Editor’s Note: This article is contributed by Fena, a Year 4 NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine student, Tanoto Scholar and third-time Project Sukacita participant. During my first Project...
President of Apical Group Dato’ Yeo How was at the 2nd Singapore Dialogue on Sustainable World Resources organised by the Singapore Institute of International Affairs on 13 May 2015.
He was one of four expert panellists invited to speak at the session themed “Commodities outlook: Impact of falling prices”. The session focused on declining global commodity prices and impact on the plantation sector. Joining Dato’ Yeo on the panel were Indofood Agri Resources Ltd. CEO & Executive Director Mark Wakeford, World Resources Institute Indonesia Country Director Dr Nirarta ‘Koni’ Samadhi, and Bunge Director – Head Sustainable Business Asia Stewart Lindsay.
New Generation Oil Palm Seedlings
He shared news that Apical Group will work with Asian Agri to distribute new-generation oil palm seedlings to its smallholders for the replanting of their ageing palms. This will see an increase of 50% in land productivity in the new cycle. The increased harvests are estimated to potentially double profit margins.
This development marks the culmination of years of extensive research by the Asian Agri Research Institute. At the same time, it represents both companies’ drive to improve the sustainability of Indonesia’s palm oil sector through the focus on increasing yields from existing oil palm plantations.
Dato Yeo said that Indonesia’s palm oil businesses can adapt to falling commodity prices without exerting pressure on land use.
Low commodity prices are a timely reminder about the importance of constantly improving productivity and cost efficiency. As Indonesia becomes more industrialised, the palm oil industry will face serious labour shortage, higher costs, and greater environmental pressures. Focusing on substantially increasing yields of existing planted areas rather than expanding continuously into marginal land will be a more sustainable way forward.
The companies’ focus on sustainability through research and collaboration, will be good news to smallholder partners, who account for almost 40% of Asian Agri’s total palm oil production. Smallholders will benefit from learning and implementing better agronomic practices and using better quality seedlings for replanting.
(feature image source: Andika Putraditama on Twitter)
Above video: Dato’ Yeo How spoke at 11:15, 43:56, 48:39 and 58:15.
Apical Group Ltd is one of the largest exporters of palm oil in Indonesia, owning and controlling an extensive spectrum of the palm oil business value chain from sourcing to distribution. It is also engaged in the refining, processing and trading of palm oil for both domestic use and international export. Its operations are located in Indonesia and China, and include four refineries, one biodiesel plant, one fatty acid splitting plant and a kernel crushing plant.
About Dato’ Yeo How
Dato’ Yeo How is the President of Apical Group, a leading global palm oil player and a founding member of the Business Council for Sustainable Development Singapore.
He joined Apical in 2008 and is a veteran in the palm oil industry where he has accumulated over 30 years of experience. At Apical, he oversees the group’s extensive spectrum of the palm oil business value chain from sourcing to distribution, refining, processing and trading of palm oil for both domestic use and international export.
About Asian Agri
Asian Agri is an Indonesian-based, world-class palm oil company that manages the archipelago’s abundant natural resources. It was established in 1979.
Asian Agri was one of the pioneers in the Indonesian government’s trans-migration scheme in Riau and Jambi. The scheme involved the migration of Indonesians from densely populated areas of Indonesia, such as Java, to less populous areas of the country with the objective of reducing poverty. Under the scheme, migrants were given land. In partnership with companies like Asian Agri which provided training in palm oil cultivation, seedlings, financing and community services, these migrants became successful smallholders, supplying their palm oil produce to Asian Agri at fair trade prices in line with government policy.
Asian Agri is part of a group of companies managed by RGE, which is founded by Sukanto Tanoto, also its chairman.