Batangtoru, 6 October 2021–PT Agincourt Resources (PTAR), the operator of the Martabe Gold Mine, facilitated capacity building for agricultural counselling workers in South Tapanuli through professional certification for 30 Field Agricultural Counselling Officers (PPL) on 5-7 October 2021. The facilitation of this certification is part of PTAR’s commitment to improve the quality of agriculture as well as supporting the local economic development in South Tapanuli.
This PPL professional certification activity is also the result of good cooperation between PTAR and the South Tapanuli Agricultural Agency, Jambi Agricultural Training Center, and the National Professional Certification Agency (BNSP). This certification was attended by 9 Counselling Officers from the Agricultural Counselling Center (BPP) of Batangtoru, 6 Counselling Officers from BPP of Muara Batangtoru, and 15 Counselling Officers from BPP of other sub-districts in South Tapanuli.
PTAR General Manager Operations Rahmat Lubis said the company will continue to be committed to supporting the development of the agricultural sector in South Tapanuli, especially to increase productivity and the amount of agricultural land area.
“More than 70% of the people in Batangtoru sub-district work as farmers. Not only that, Batangtoru sub-district itself is one of the agricultural centers in South Tapanuli with rice/paddy commodities. PTAR will always encourage strategic cooperation with the government and other partners, in encouraging various programs that contribute positively to the welfare of the community. We thank the South Tapanuli District Government for supporting this certification program,” said Rahmat.
PTAR Senior Manager Community Christine Pepah added, to build and develop the agricultural sector in South Tapanuli, assistance from the qualified, reliable, professional, innovative, proactive and communicative PPL is highly required.
“The agricultural sector is growing very rapidly and dynamically. Therefore, certified PPLs are needed to assist farmers. They will later become a place of consultation for farmers, planters, breeders, and freshwater fisheries. Through the assistance from PPLs, especially related to education and with the adoption of appropriate technology, it is hoped that agricultural production in South Tapanuli will continue to increase, so it can also encourage increased productivity, income, and welfare of the farmers and their families,” explained Christine.
Meanwhile, agriculture and local economic development are included in the two main focuses of the PTAR community development and empowerment program. The success of farmers in cultivating food needs to be continuously supported by the presence and contribution of PPL as the spearhead of the government’s presence. Not only that, according to Christine, the realization of competent and reliable PPLs will ensure the implementation of quality-assured counselling and gain recognition from farming groups and communities, so they are able to support South Tapanuli agriculture in a better direction.
Until now, based on the results of PTAR assistance, the area of agricultural cultivation in Batangtoru and Muara Batangtoru sub-districts has reached around 150 hectares, consisting of 2 hectares of organic farming cultivation, 10 hectares of captive rice cultivation, 100 hectares of conventional rice cultivation, 3 hectares of rhizome roots plant cultivation and 35 hectares of shelled corn cultivation.
“The number of farmers who have received assistance from PTAR has also reached around 250 people. Their various agricultural products have been successfully marketed outside Batangtoru and Muara Batangtoru, namely in Padangsidimpuan, Sibolga, to Medan. We support farmers not only through capacity building, but also providing advice on agricultural production, irrigation systems, rice field access infrastructure, product certification assistance, farmer group institutional strengthening, to post-harvest production facilities and access to marketing,” explained Christine.
PPL professional certification supported by PTAR and listed in the PTAR Community Development and Empowerment Master Plan, especially on the pillars of Real Income Level and Economic Independence, also in accordance with Law No. 16 of 2006 on Agricultural Counselling System, Fisheries, and Forestry, Minister of Agriculture Regulation No.45/Permentan/OT.140/4/2013 on Guidelines for the Implementation of Agricultural Counselling Professional Certification, and Decree of the Minister of Manpower and Transmigration No. 43 of 2013 on the Indonesian National Work Competency Standards (SKKNI) in the field of Agricultural Counselling.
Not only facilitating the certification, PTAR’s commitment to agricultural development in South Tapanuli, especially Batangtoru and Muara Batangtoru sub-districts is also evident from the various programs that have been carried out, including integrated livestock development for village youth groups, cultivation of rhizome root crops and sales by community groups in two villages, development of fish farming capacity, production of certified and superior rice seeds, organic rice, shelled corn, agricultural infrastructure (such as access roads and repair of irrigation canals), and cultivation of fruit plants in pots.
South Tapanuli District Head H. Dolly P. Pasaribu expressed his appreciation and gratitude to PTAR for its initiative and commitment to working with the South Tapanuli District Government to improve the quality of the agricultural sector.
“We will oversee and continue to support this training and certification. Agriculture is one of the spearheads in South Tapanuli, moreover the production so far is quite good. We hope that this training and certification can optimize resources, utilize technology so as to optimize the role of farmers and counselling workers in achieving food self-sufficiency in South Tapanuli, and also in encouraging the increase of millennial farmers who are advanced, modern, professional and have an entrepreneurial spirit,” concluded Dolly.