From Waste to Wealth, Creative People Make a Living from Oil Palm Sticks

It’s not a magic, nor illusion. When a great idea comes up, ones can make awesome things from waste material. A group of people in Pintu Pohan Meranti Village in Toba Samosir Regency, North Sumatera have proved it right. They make woven handicraft items like plates, flowerpots, hats, baskets from oil palm sticks .

Oil palm sticks, which are derived from fronds, used to be waste. The fronds are derived from the harvesting of oil palm fruit bunches, from both pruning management practices and replanting operations. They are available in the vicinity of oil palm plantations, throughout the year, when the palms are pruned or during the fruit harvest.

Oil palm fronds used to be burned but environmental concerns led to banning the practice in the 1990s. That’s why farmers used to leave them on the ground to decompose and fertilize the soil.

Now, creative idea has changed them all. People in Pintu Pohan Meranti Village who live around oil palm plantation derive sticks from the fronds and make valuable things. “Now, they make a living from the sticks,” Alex Zetro Siagian, craftsman from the village, said, Sunday (10/2/2019).

Alex, who pioneered making things from the sticks, explained that people of the village invited a handmade specialist from Bangun Purba, Deli Serdang to share his expert opinion and provides advice.

He had trained the villagers for three days, most of them women, on how to create valuable handmade products from oil palm sticks. They learned everything, from preparing raw materials to create valuable items.

From the short training, people in the village know what to do with oil palm trees, so that nothing goes to waste. Now, they can make variety of products. “Now, we can create more competitive products to penetrate the market,” Tiur Siagian, a craftswoman said. *** (Source: Tribun Medan)

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