Batangtoru, November 4, 2022 – PT Agincourt Resources, the operator of Martabe Gold Mine, initiated a competency improvement certification program for 30 Field Agricultural Extension Workers (PPL) in South Tapanuli. The mentoring program was intensified by cooperating with Jambi Agricultural Training Center at the Ministry of Agriculture which was held for the first time in North Sumatra.
Community Senior Manager, Christine Pepah, said that increasing the capacity of dozens of PPL from 15 Agricultural Extension Centers (BPP) was needed to produce highly competitive agricultural actors and contribute to reinforcing agricultural sector in South Tapanuli.
BPP is the spearhead in providing technical and non-technical assistance to farmers/farmer groups to create successful and sustainable agriculture. Meanwhile, PPL plays an important role in being directly involved with farmers/farmer groups in the field.
“This certification program is our contribution to preparing farmers, especially young farmers in South Tapanuli, particularly in the two districts in the mining operation area, to be ready and resilient to respond to various agricultural problems such as food prices and prices of agricultural production facilities which tend to rise,” said Christine.
The event to increase the capacity of BPP and to increase the capacity of PPL contributes to the increase in grade and number of certified BPP to intermediate grade. This activity will also produce 30 extension workers who have the quality and competency in developing farmers and agriculture in South Tapanuli.
In terms of farmer human resources, currently the majority of PTAR assisted farmer groups in Batangtoru and Muara Batangtoru are still in the Beginner and Advanced qualifications.
“We hope that this program will have a broad impact. Not only managing BPP to be independent according to the government standards and increasing PPL capacity, but also being able to increase the grade of farmer groups and ultimately farmer households are more advanced and sustainable in managing their farming business,” said Christine.
In holding this activity, PTAR involved Jambi Agricultural Training Center which is a Technical Implementation Unit (UPT) under the Ministry of Agriculture. The Head of Jambi Agricultural Training Center, Zahron Helmy, appreciated PTAR’s step in holding a capacity building event for BPP and PPL which has long-term impacts in agricultural sector in South Tapanuli, especially in producing productive farmers in terms of production and quality products. PTAR even supports training and mentoring of PPL to the field intensively, which is the first time in North Sumatra.
“PTAR has envisioned that the agriculture in South Tapanuli can be one of the leading sectors in maintaining people’s sovereignty. We are invited to participate in providing training. Hopefully, millennial farmers are born, farmers with products that can be sold to other islands or provinces, or farmers who can export their agricultural products,” said Zahron.
Positive appreciation for the activity to increase the capacity of agricultural Human Resources was expressed by one of the training participants who is the Coordinator of Batangtoru BPP, Lenny Marlina Nasution. According to her, this activity is very useful for increasing the knowledge and abilities of the agricultural extension workers and is a great opportunity which is very difficult to obtain due to the limited quota of participants.
“This training is extraordinary and enlightening, very useful to support our main task. The material presented during this training is a holy book for agricultural extension workers. The materials are detailed, and we are free to share them with agricultural experts,” said Lenny.
There are many lessons learned from the program to increase the capacity of BPP and extension workers, for example, how to identify problems in the field and gather physical evidence, solve problems, draw conclusions, to develop and evaluate programs. These materials, according to Lenny, will complement the capacity of agricultural human resources in South Tapanuli, which has so far been insufficient.
The series of BPP grade improvement and PPL capacity building activities began with a baseline survey of Training Needs Identification last September, and then continued with Institutional Management Training to improve the grade of BPP capabilities and mentoring.
The next activity is Capacity Building Training for Field Agricultural Extension Workers and will end with a benchmark (comparative study) to BPP locations which become pilots at the national level based on the recommendation of Agricultural Training Center which will be held in late November 2022.