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Less than ten years ago, more than half the population of the Indonesian island of Sulawesi (Celebes) lived far below the poverty line. Barren plains had replaced once tropical rainforests; farmers had sold their land. Now, in 2016, each year 200,000 hectares of forest cover is protected as the sugar palms provide income and because farmers do not need firewood for the thickening of the sugar - the sugar factory instead uses residual steam from the nearby geothermal power plant. Also, 300 hectares of new forest was replanted.
A sugar factory
Since 2012, life in many villages has changed visibly. The men are at work during the day in the forest, children are in school and there is electricity. In one of the villages the Masarang Foundation sets up a factory. Farmers bring their sugar juice they have tapped to this factory, which is then transformed into palm sugar and bioethanol. The locals use the fuel for their vehicles and for cooking. The sugar factory works on residual heat collected from a nearby geothermal power plant and its CO2 emissions are captured for the production of algae. These algae are used as cattle feed in the village. Watch in this video how this wonderful zero-waste sugar factory works!
A fair price
Also on other islands, such as Kalimantan and Sumatra, where our Red Ape lives, thousands of people have year-round income from the Arenga palm in the forest. A major advantage over seasonal crops (such as sugarcane)! The local farmer gets a fair price for the sap that is tapped. In addition, Red Ape contributes 5 eurocent per kg to the Masarang foundation, which is used for scholarships for high school students, so they can complete their studies. After all, ecological awareness starts with education.
A success story
The sugar palm project is a success thanks to the involvement of the local population. They know the value of the sugar palm and are now the guardians of the rainforest! You can help as well. How? It’s simple: use Red Ape Forest Sugar: the greater the demand, the more farmers have an income and the more we can protect (and increase) the rainforest and save our Red Ape!