04 Nov 2022

Sowing Mushroom Seeds for Community Self-reliance in the Assisted Villages of PT Kitadin Embalut

For ITM and its subsidiaries, the mine closure programs have gone beyond returning the mined land functions, but an opportunity to sustain the values created during the mining operation. In other words, mine closure brings with it an opportunity and room for the Company to prepare surrounding communities to be fully independent and progress. This becomes a new standard for ITM Group's mine closure program.

Following the successful mine closure of KTD site Tandung Mayang which left its legacy in a form of community self-reliance, it is now the time for KTD site Embalut to prepare its legacy for the communities in four assisted villages. Having enough post-mining management experience at the Tandung Mayang site and well-prepared plans, KTD Embalut’s post-mining program is expected to create another ITM legacy for surrounding stakeholders. The legacies wanted to include the restored ecosystem and communities that are economically, socially, and culturally empowered.

Various community development and empowerment (PPM) mine closure programs have been well planned after thorough analysis and public hearings. Among many of KTD Embalut’s mine closure programs, which will be carried out for the next five years, is oyster mushroom cultivation. This program, which was captured from the aspirations of the community, has entered the piloting phase.


Group-Based Commodity Development

For the Community Development (CD) team of KTD site Embalut, the oyster mushroom PPM program is not something new. Pak Made Susana, one of the mushroom farmers assisted by the KTD Embalut site, has succeeded in developing the oyster mushroom business, becoming his sole and reliable source of income. Backed up by the CD Team of KTD Embalut in the form of training and cultivation tools in 2016, today Pak Made Susana has 5 oyster mushroom cultivation greenhouses with a capacity of 1,800 kg per month and the development of 1,400 Baglogs per day. Pak Made’s product is distributed not only to the Tenggarong area but also to Sanggata and other neighboring cities in East Kalimantan.

Like a foundation for a greater scale of mushroom cultivation, the CD Team of KTD Site Embalut encourages farmer groups that have been formed to gain empirical knowledge from the location of Pak Made Susana's production house as initial provisions. Following the initial learning at Pak Made’s farm, the Company will provide cultivation houses, the backlog of superior seeds, and other supporting tools for the group of farmers formed in four assisted villages.

“I am happy to be a part of PT Kitadin's post-mining program at the Embalut site, sharing my experiences and supporting all efforts to encourage communities' independence in the four assisted villages. I hope that with the establishment of oyster mushroom farmer groups, Kutai Kartanegara especially in Tenggarong Seberang district, has superior commodities with a production capacity that can answer the needs of the local community and surrounding cities, "said Mr. Made Susana.

Until the end of the mine closure period in 2025, the CD team of KTD site Embalut targets the formation of ±16 oyster mushroom farmer groups from 4 assisted villages, namely Bangun Rejo Village, Embalut Village, Kerta Buana Village, and Separi Village. With full support, such as training, and construction of cultivation houses and equipment, the Management of KTD Embalut hopes that all groups formed can grow oyster mushrooms, increase production, and even create derivative products with higher economic value.

“The goal that we want to achieve from these mine closure programs is the community’s economic independence. This means, when PT Kitadin no longer operates in Embalut, the community will be able to be independent in their way. Oyster mushroom development is one of the commodities that people can develop. The current demand is very high and cannot be met by existing farmers. This has encouraged us to form and support the community through farmer group schemes,” said Pak Bonifasius Tritra Tipa, Mine Head of PT Kitadin Site Embalut.