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PEOPLE FOR PEAT: BUILDING SUSTAINABLE BUSINESSES ON PEATLANDS

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After 20 years in the telecommunication industry, Dicky Asmoro decided to follow his life-long passion for nature, ‘I’ve always loved being in nature and interacting with the local community’, Asmoro said.

In 2019, Asmoro established Agrapanabio, a company that focuses on conducting applied research nature-based technologicalsolutions for ecological restoration. ‘I wanted to try to implement Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) practices into the local context and help shape the mindset of the local community’.

One of Asmoro’s projects is in Siak, Riau, Indonesia. The regency has the largest peatland area on the island of Sumatra with over 479 485 hectares of peatlands and a population of snakehead fish endemic to the peatlands.

Asmoro participated in the People for Peats (PFP) Business Hub to conceptualise his approach. Funded by the EU, the People for Peat project is the second component of the Sustainable Use of Peatland and Haze Mitigation in ASEAN (SUPA) programme that aims to support and sustain local livelihoods. Through the PFP Business Hub, the project provides intensive capacity building sessions to help participants develop holistic financial models and ensure the sustainability of their businesses.

‘Our approach to the community starts with the snakehead fish cultivation’, Asmoro said. ‘It serves as an economic incentive to conserve the peatlands’.

Through the PFP Business Hub, Asmoro learned how to map the population of snakehead fish in the peatlands and how to cultivate them sustainably, ‘I also learned how to turn the production waste

of snakehead fish into compost to be used on the peatlands and how we can use the peatlands without using any chemicals or burning it’.

The success of the project in Siak is currently being replicated in Sintang, West Kalimantan, Indonesia.

‘It’s really exciting to see the community reap economic benefits and preserve the ecosystem at the same time’

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