Little-known nut helps Indonesian farmers build sustainable forest economy

  • Food company partners with villagers to promote kenari nuts
  • A quarter of rural people in eastern Indonesia live in poverty
  • Village-owned enterprises help earn income without cutting trees

MAKIAN ISLAND, Indonesia, Nov 22 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Farmer Musdi Siraju, 19, picked his way down the steep, slippery mountainside in bare feet, on his way to a grove of coconut palms, canarium and nutmeg trees where he works every day to support his family on eastern Indonesia’s Makian Island.

In 1512, colonial Portuguese traders, followed later by the Dutch and the English, descended on Makian and the other Moluccas – once known as the Spice Islands for their abundance of nutmeg and cloves – to exploit their rich natural resources.

Today, people in Musdi’s home village of Sebelei are earning more from what grows here, under an emerging economic model the government hopes can boost rural livelihoods while safeguarding natural landscapes in the world’s largest…

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