Symrise and Van Aroma are expanding their sustainable patchouli program into Sumatra, the original Indonesian home of patchouli. They have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with PT. Sirukam Lumbung Nagari for the rejuvenation of cultivation in the region. This forms a further step of the program launched by Symrise in 2017 in association with Van Aroma. It gives Sumatran farmers access to a growing network in the region that includes nearly 600 farmers in Sulawesi.
“We feel excited to take this project to the next stage,” says Ramkumar Venkataraman, Symrise’s Vice President of Global Sustainable Sourcing, Scent and Care Division. “Our work in Sulawesi has helped farmers and communities to understand and assess the sustainable cultivation of Patchouli and its value as a cash crop and important source of income. The program’s success demonstrates the importance and benefit of Regenerative Agriculture in ensuring sustainability.”
The program brings multiple benefits, including helping farmers to enjoy a fair income and enhanced business security, Symrise to access a reliable supply of high-quality sustainable Patchouli Oil and customers to source beautiful, responsibly sourced fragrance ingredients. The geographical expansion of the program into Sumatra with Van Aroma adds further resilience to the supply chain.
The program can make a difference, because Patchouli farmers face a range of challenges. They can address them by learning to better understand sustainable cultivation practices. For instance: Patchouli tends to take the nutrients from the soil fairly quickly and plants can become infected with diseases, resulting in the destruction of crops and significantly impacting the livelihood of the farmers. The program shows commitment to helping patchouli farming communities to cultivate the crop sustainably and cost effectively, while generating the best quality patchouli oil.
“We expect this collaboration to combine the vast expertise and knowledge of Symrise and Van Aroma with our understanding of local conditions and farming culture, and to bring sustainable cultivation of patchouli to West Sumatra,” says Budi Budar, owner of PT. Sirukam Lumbung Nagari. Sandeep Tekriwal, CEO of Van Aroma adds, “Sumatra Patchouli Oil comes with a very special woody sweet note only found here in Sumatra. We must do something to help preserve this treasure for generations to come."
The program aims to work with authorities and farming communities to promote the benefits of eco-friendly Patchouli cultivation. The program also uses technology to reach and inform farmers. The Nilampedia digital agricultural communication and education tool, available through YouTube and FaceBook, has already attracted almost 6,000 users since its launch in 2020. The Komunitas Petani Nilam FaceBook community for discussion and expert advice has nearly 2,000 members.