How do we support local communities?

Bumitama is committed to its role as a corporate citizen. We aim to strengthen the resilience of our communities by protecting the environment and natural resources, by respecting traditional rights and cultures, and by supporting the aspirations of local people through provisions of quality education, training, and sources of alternative livelihoods.

Village Development Status

  • With our programmes, Bumitama strives to ensure that the local communities evolve into thriving, independent villages. In 2016, the Indonesian Government developed the Indeks Desa Membangun (IDM, or the Village Development Index). The yearly ranking allows us to understand how the villages respond to our programmes and how we can design plans to counteract identified shortcomings. Although our support cannot be seen in isolation, this method helps to demonstrate the positive impact our programmes have on local communities.
  • We regularly monitor the ranking of 114 villages directly adjacent to our operations, tracking their scores from 2016 onwards. To internally measure their progress, we used an average of the ranking numerical score from 1 to 5. In 2016, our villages scored an average of 1.72. In 2023, the same villages improved by nearly 148% to 4.27. Zero villages in 2023 were categorized as “undeveloped” (as opposed to 9 in 2020). As of 2023, 52 villages are now in the “independent” category.
  • The village of Sungai Melayu in Ketapang is an excellent example of growth. The local community’s receptive attitude towards our programmes, combined with the tenacity of village government officials, has propelled their score from undeveloped (2) to independent (5) in just four years. We are also planning to support other villages across the different development levels to raise their environmental, social and economic wellbeing and achieve higher scores across all areas.

Social Forestry

“We commend Bumitama’s social forestry approach as this is unique to the industry and can be regarded as a breakthrough in the absence of clarity in what it means to transform the palm oil industry.”
-Adriana Zakaria, Chairman, Earthqualizer

  • Bumitama’s intensive engagement with its partners and other relevant stakeholders has culminated in two 35-year social forestry licences being awarded by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry to the villages of Sungai Melayu and Simpang Tiga Sembelangaan (STS), directly adjacent to our operations. The local communities were supported by our teams in setting up the village forest management units. Applying shared responsibility and commitment under the Company-Community Co-Management, we help the locals in developing and executing their forest management plans, for sustainable and equitable communities.
  • The first phase of the programme in Ketapang, West Kalimantan connects the BBCP programme, the Governors’ Green Growth plan, and the Ketapang’s Regent PPI.
  • We are preparing social forestry licensing and co-management collaborations with communities in other areas in Kalimantan in the near future.
  • Read more from our latest update here


Community Programmes

  • Bumitama together with its partners and invited experts continuously seeks ways to help indigenous communities generate sustainable income streams. The intention is that instead of providing handouts, our programmes will enable the villagers to generate their own income and support their livelihoods in long-term.
  • Under our Plasma Advantage Programmes, we are bringing alternative livelihood opportunities to local communities.  Our Mitra Bahaum The silver catfish farming project in Central Kalimantan in partnership with the National Development Planning Agency (BAPPENAS) and the Ministry of Fisheries and Maritime Affairs aims to provide complementary revenue for the partnering communities. The programme is a several-year, multi-faceted project modelled as a small–medium enterprise business.
  • Our Mentaya Region organic chicken cultivation group has been operating since November 2017, raising natural chicken without the use of synthetic chemicals. Their feed comes from organic vegetables, and the bran is from organic rice. This provides a foundation for expanding our community farming projects, replicating successful models into other communities.
  • Bumitama collaborates with communities in many more programmes including blacksmith harvesting tools production, vegetable farms, bee farms, small coffee farms,  which you can read more about here.

Smallholder Partnerships

  • Smallholders play an integral role in the global palm oil industry and the Indonesian landscape. Of all the FFB processed at our mills, of about 49% is sourced from nucleus, 21% from our plasma smallholders an 30% from independent smallholders and outgrowers near our mills.
  • While the growth in small-scale farming brings many economic an social benefits to rural communities, smallholder farmers face challenges in adopting sustainable best management practices. We continue to support smallholders throughout our supply chain to ensure that all FFB originates from legal and responsible sources. We do so by mapping smallholder activity and monitoring high-risk areas.
  • Since 2018, we have expanded our independent smallholder and outgrower productivity support programme. We engage external suppliers in trainings on best oil palm plantation practices, including appropriate fertiliser application, weed management, and harvesting.
  • Under our management, we support the smallholders towards RSPO certification. The first group of plasma smallholders was officially certified in early 2019, covering 1,899 ha at our PT Masuba Citra Mandiri (Riau) and PT Agro Sejahtera Manunggal (West Kalimantan) operations – 3.4% of total plasma planted area. We aim to achieve RSPO certification for all plasma schemes by 2026, while working with independent smallholder groups around our operations. The latest RSPO certificate was awarded in October 2023 to a local smallholder group KUD Bangkit Usaha Makmur from Rokan Hulu District, Riau. The smallholder collective, comprising 24 independent smallholders with a total area covering 917.39 ha, aligning its agricultural practices with those of The Group and adhering to our NDPE policy. Following its success in the RSPO audit, the collective is now aiming to obtain ISPO certification.


  • The Bumitama Foundation operates 41 Bumitama schools and provides education to more than 5,900 enrolled students. We also have 146 childcare centres caring for over 2,600 pre- school age children. Our teachers are trained to understand and accommodate the requirements of all students, including those with disabilities. We monitor and observe healthy growth of all our children to prevent cases of malnutrition and stunting, and provide additional healthy food and supplements to those in risk. We do not have any cases of stunting among the children attending our schools.
  • We participate in the Adiwiyata Initiative, a programme introduced by the Indonesian Education and Environment ministries in 2006. The programme’s aim is to develop environmental consciousness through school that will carry through to adulthood. In 2023, seven of our schools teaching green and sustainable education were recognised at national level, while another four was awarded at national level.