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Doing rubber differently: a win-win solution for people and planet

10 Jan 2019
An innovative finance project in Indonesia is providing jobs while preserving the habitat of endangered species.

Sri Hartiwi, a rubber tapper in Indonesia’s Jambi Province on the island of Sumatra, has a demanding routine. Her day starts at 3.30 a.m. when she cooks for the family and goes off to work in a plantation till 1.00 p.m. She gets a holiday on Sundays.

Her family—her husband, a cleaner in a private company, and two children—don’t own any land, making the income earned from rubber tapping critical for the household’s daily needs.

The family are beneficiaries of the Tropical Landscapes Finance Facility’s US$350 million natural rubber project, launched in October 2016, which is already reducing poverty while preserving the habitat of critically endangered species in two provinces in Indonesia.

One of the aims of the project is to transform heavily degraded land into productive rubber plantations that create livelihood opportunities for climate-vulnerable communities. More climate resilient and better planned rubber production, and the setting aside of plantation areas for protection of ecosystem services, are at the core of the project.

Under the project, Hartiwi and other community members are receiving training in rubber tapping and other sustainable rubber production techniques.

She earns a significantly higher salary than the average income per capita in Jambi Province’s Tebo Regency where she resides. Her main expense is the three sacks of rice for her household that cost US$26 per month.

“The Tropical Landscapes Finance Facility’s natural rubber project in Jambi and East Kalimantan provinces is a great example of innovative partnerships and solutions being harnessed for the benefit of people and sustainable development,” says Satya Tripathi, Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and Head of UN Environment’s New York Office.

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