The blessing of oil palm nurseries for Dumai mothers during the Covid-19 pandemic
Pekanbaru - A location for an oil palm nursery in Dumai City is fortunate for Heddina. Especially during the Covid-19 pandemic because this mother of three had lost her husband three years ago.
Even though he is in his old age, Heddina is very painstaking and dexterous in cleaning, moving and watering the rows of superior palm seedlings. These seeds will be projected to fulfill the smallholder oil palm rejuvenation program (PSR).
Heddina is one of 52 workers at the center for superior oil palm nurseries in collaboration between PT Perkebunan Nusantara V and the seed provider of the Center for Oil Palm Research (PPKS) Medan, North Sumatra. The nursery is located in Dumai City.
For Heddina, the nursery center is a blessing because she is the only support for her children. Apart from the steaming kitchen, the wages at this location are also used to support other needs.
"I am single, looking for economic needs, my husband died, I am very grateful for this nursery center," said Heddina.
The woman who has lived for 30 years in Bukit Kapur Subdistrict, Dumai City, said that she had to ward off embarrassment to ask her neighbor for a job. Everything he did to keep the kitchen steaming.
However, everything got better when PTPN V opened a superior oil palm nursery, not far from where he lived. In this 40-hectare location, PTPN V also recorded a positive performance amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Since March 2020 I have been here, since the pandemic. Of course it has been greatly helped economically, I hope this will continue," hoped Heddina.
In line with Heddina, another housewife, Lasti, also feels the same way. The 39-year-old woman has six children, all of whom are currently attending education, from elementary to high school.
Lasti was a little lucky compared to Heddina. Her husband is still healthy and works as a driver. However, she admitted that since the Covid-19 pandemic, her husband's sustenance has wavered a little.
Moreover, so far Lasti has not been able to help the family economy because she is only a housewife.
"But now I am very grateful to be able to work here, the cost of educating my children is greatly helped by my work," he said.
Lasti and Heddina along with other workers, can get more than Rp2 million per month. For them, the work feels light because it is only a distraction, does not take much time, and is close to where they live.
"Moreover, all of those who work here are neighbors. We are working together, in essence, we are very grateful for this condition," said Mrs. Timilan, a 42-year-old woman who started working since April 2020.
This nursery center is indeed collaborating with the local community as workers, especially from women. They are employed at every stage of the pre-nursery and the main nursery, from cleaning to nursery to maintenance.
Meanwhile, PTPN V CEO Jatmiko K Santosa stated that his company always strives to make a positive contribution, including improving the community's economy through business activities. One of them is by cultivating superior palm seedlings in Dumai City.
According to Jatmiko, it does not only have an impact on the empowerment of the surrounding community because these superior oil palm seeds are not only for their own gardens and plasma plantations. However, also for independent smallholders.
"In fact, farmers who buy seeds individually are still served," said Jatmiko in Pekanbaru, Friday evening, October 17, 2020.
Jatmiko hopes that the company will remain productive even in the midst of a pandemic. Thus, the surrounding community can also continue to work and earn income.
"For that, I ask to continue to maintain health protocols with discipline," pleaded Jatmiko.
With these oil palm seeds, Jatmiko hopes to help the needs of farmers and the general public for good oil palm seeds. So that it can encourage the acceleration of the PSR, in order to support the National Economic Recovery.
For information, the superior oil palm seeds developed by PTPN V are DxP 540 and DxP SMB varieties.
Has a potential productivity of up to 29 tons per hectare, these seeds have been equipped with certificates from the PPKS and the Riau Province Plantation Service. The price if released to the farmers is also more affordable than the market price.
Apart from Dumai City, PTPN V has also opened six other nursery centers with an area of up to 160 hectares. Meanwhile, the nursery center in Dumai produces 1.5 million seedlings.