Active in Indonesia since the beginning of the last century, the Socfin Group is a role model for plantation development in the archipelago.
Socfin SA (La Société Financière des Caoutchoucs) was founded in Indonesia in 1909. In 1911, the first palm trees were planted in Sungai Liput in the Aceh province: Indonesia’s first palm plantation was a fact. On the other hand, the first rubber seedlings were planted in Tanah Besih in 1923.
In 1965, the major Indonesian plantations were nationalized. Subsequently, the joint venture between Plantation Nord Sumatera (PNS) (60%) and the Indonesian government (40%) gave rise to Socfindo (PT Socfin Indonesia) in 1968. Thanks to this partnership, which is a development example within the industry, the company ranked among the top three producers in Indonesia in 1984. In 2001, the government sold a majority of its shares to PNS.
Socfindo is a model for agro-industrial corporate management in the country, especially in the Northern Sumatra and Aceh regions. The plantations have highly contributed to the improvement of the surrounding population’s living standards, particularly through:
Guaranteed occupational medicine for all employees (systematic annual visits, etc.);
Increased competence sharing / improvement;
Additional income generation thanks to local entrepreneurship;
Service provision to the surrounding communities.
Today, Socfindo is still contributing to knowledge and competence development of various players in the Indonesian oil palm industry, including through conference participation, the organization of training workshops and publication of technical manuals.
Socfindo has also put in place an investment aid fund for local small enterprises. The granting of interest-free loans to entrepreneurs is one of the project’s initiatives.
Socfindo also encourages local communities to preserve and respect their environment. To this end, various programs are implemented, such as:
Offer training in good agricultural practices and environmentally friendly techniques, such as soil conservation, to local communities;
Provide bins to motivate workers to correctly manage their personal waste, etc.
And the company contributes to education, by:
Constructing primary school facilities for children from the plantations and surrounding communities;
Offering scholarships to outstanding children of workers or from local communities;
Providing school buses within the plantations in areas where public transport is non-existent;
Contributing also to infrastructure development in neighboring villages through infrastructure development programs: more specifically maintenance, repair and construction of roads and tracks.
Lastly, its sites are RSPO and ISPO certified.
In addition, within the context of continuous improvement, Socfindo takes a proactive approach in the field of research and innovation. In 2012, for example, Socfindo built a composting unit for all waste from the Bandung Bandar plant (fibers, ashes, effluents and EFB), although only two such units existed worldwide at the time. Very little scientific information was available in this field, so it was a true innovation and it takes a pioneer spirit to recycle all by-products of the production cycle. Moreover, for the areas concerned, this compost replaces partially or even totally the use of inorganic fertilizers.
Among the world leaders in the seed market, Socfindo was the first and only producer to offer a seed with tolerance to Ganoderma (a devastating fungus in Asia). The breeding programs launched by Socfindo several decades ago have been successful and resulted in a naturally improved seed with optimal yields. This significantly reduces the need for farmland and inputs while at the same time increasing production.