BOGOR, September 6, 2021 – Bogor Regency Government together with Korindo Group ensured that they would empower the local residents in developing Pondok Rajeg City Forest, Cibinong, Bogor. This commitment has been proven with efforts to involve the community in the land clearing process of 2,700 square meter land as a trial area on Monday (31/8).
At least six local residents were empowered, including Abdurahman. He was tasked with clearing banana plants that previously covered the location that would become Pondok Rajeg City Forest. The banana stems were then used as a border for the trial area.
Pondok Rajeg City Forest is planned to be built on former landfill of Pondok Rajeg, Cibinong, Bogor, with a total area of seven hectares (ha). In 2018, the land was designated as an urban forest through a Regent’s Decree (SK). Now, the former landfill has turned into a land for the local community to cultivate banana plants.
Abdurahman himself is one of the residents of Pondok Rajeg who cultivates banana plants in the area in order to meet his daily needs. He usually sells banana leaves to the market, which will then be used to wrap tempeh or lontong (rice cakes).
Although his cultivated area will turn into an urban forest, Abdurahman does not feel discouraged. “Because this is the government’s land that I worked on while it was still empty. So feel free to use it,” he uttered.
Abdurahman expressed his appreciation towards the efforts from Bogor Regency Government and Korindo Group in empowering workers from the local community to build the Pondok Rajeg City Forest. He hoped to remain involved in the development process and maintenance of the urban forest in the future. Especially during this Covid-19 pandemic, where it is difficult for him to earn an income.
“Thank God, we’re now being involved. From being unemployed, now we have some jobs. I hope this will continue on,” Abdurahman said.
The plan of Korindo Group’s involvement in the urban forest development on the former landfill of Pondok Rajeg started last year. In November 2020, Korindo Foundation, a division that manages all Korindo Group’s social responsibility activities, sent a Letter of Interest (LoI) to the Regent of Bogor, Ade Yasin regarding the company’s interest in supporting the development of the urban forest.
Previously, Korindo Group and Bogor Regency Government have set three trial zones with a size of 30×30 meters in June 2021. When the land clearing process is complete, the area will be planted with Sengon and Trembesi trees. The trial planting activity is estimated to last for one year, or be finished in September 2022.
Just like other Corporate Social Contribution (CSC) programs from Korindo Group, Pondok Rajeg City Forest will also prioritize the principle of sustainability. Including from the side of environmental conservation to community empowerment through economic and social aspects.
The General Secretary of Korindo Foundation, Seo Jeongsik described that the efforts to involve the local community have often been carried out in Korindo Group’s dedication for over five decades in Indonesia. Among them are the hydroponic development program that teamed up with farmers group in Pengadegan, Jakarta and the development of Pakansari City Forest, which is also located in Cibinong area, Bogor.
“This is in line with Korindo Group’s commitment to provide the biggest and highest benefits possible to the community around the company,” Seo said.
A similar commitment was also conveyed by the Bogor Regency Government through the Village Head of Pondok Rajeg, Suhendi. He ensured that he would involve the local residents in the building, development, and maintenance processes of Pondok Rajeg City Forest.
Suhendi said that this empowerment was in line with the cultivators’ wishes. They hope for a change of a more profitable and long-term work. “All this time, they only have income from selling banana leaves or banana fruits, the earnings are not much. With the existence of this urban forest, they hope to be empowered and we will try to facilitate that,” he explained.
In addition to improving the economy, Suhendi added that the existence of Pondok Rajeg City Forest is also believed to provide many benefits for the local community. One of them is the use of open green space as a place for recreation and increasing oxygen production.
Korindo Group’s involvement in the development of open green space in Bogor has been going on since 2019. At that time, Korindo Group together with Bogor Regency Government built Pakansari City Forest with the size of two ha, which now is a lush area, filled with Eucalyptus deglupta trees.
Until now, Korindo Group is still responsible for the management of the urban forest, which involves the community. The responsibility will be handed over to Bogor Regency Government in November 2022 to be used by the local residents. (pr)