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Rice husks – the hard coverings of rice grains – are often thrown away. But where most people see waste, Pangkalan Kerinci-based entrepreneur Jufri saw opportunity. With help from APRIL subsidiary PT Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper (RAPP), he set up a business in 2000 which converts the husks into fertilizer for the agricultural industry.

Today he employs more than 80 people, providing jobs and opportunities to the local community.

The husks are cooked to turn them into rice husk charcoal, which is used by RAPP as a medium for the thousands of seedlings the company plants each day. He supplies the nearby nursery with around 10 tons of rice husk charcoal each month.

"Since 2000, I have been a partner of RAPP. I started out taking care of operational vehicles, and then the employment service, and now I supply rice husk charcoal," said Jufri.

Production is relatively simple, albeit labor intensive. The rice husks are brought from Kuantan Singingi, then cooked in a large frying pan until blackened.

"For me, rice husk charcoal is a convenient business because it’s so simple. Perhaps others see the husk as a useless thing, but I saw a business opportunity here," he said.

The business has enabled him to open up job opportunities to the local community, which has high rates of unemployment. He also plans to open a fourth charcoal plant, this time in Kuantan Singingi, to cater to growing demand.

"To be able to help reduce the unemployment by creating jobs for the local community makes me so happy. It’s a happy feeling to be able to share with the local community in difficult economic conditions,'' said Jufri.

community development rapp jufri

RAPP has provided Jufri with support including training on how to run a business, as well as committing to buy his products.

"RAPP gives me a lot of help for my business. So the benefit that I get is not only the money, but also the training program that helps develop my business," Jufri said.

APRIL Group has a dedicated Community Development program, which aims to benefit local people in a number of ways, including through supporting education, healthcare and economic development. The SME development program provides financial and technical expertise to local businesses, and in 2016 helped 190 entrepreneurs create hundreds of jobs.

This is in accordance with the principles of the company's founder, Sukanto Tanoto, who believes that only when actions are good for the community, country and climate will they ultimately benefit the company.

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