The initiative was formalized in a Memorandum of Understanding between RAPP and the villages in a signing ceremony on 7 July 2014 that was witnessed by the Pelalawan regent chief. The villages are: Sering, Pulau Muda, Teluk Meranti and Teluk Binjai.
"Let's work together in preventing land and forest fire. RAPP also stands ready in assisting the communities to monitor and extinguish fire," Mulia Nauli said at the signing ceremony.
For villages that are successful in preventing land and forest fire for three consecutive months, RAPP will provide infrastructure for the village of about Rp. 100 million. Meanwhile, assistance of Rp. 50 million will be awarded to villages that are successful in extinguishing fire in less than 24 hours on a burned area of less than one hectare.
Mulia explained the incentive will be in the form of village development fund and scholarships.
Local government and police will asses and decide on the fire situation at the villages with additional monitoring by RAPP.
APRIL implements a strict no-burn policy and has empowered 31 Fire Alert Communities (Masyarakat Perduli Api or MPA) in five regencies in Riau province.
Pelalawan regent chief, H. M. Harris welcomes RAPP's initiative in preventing land and forest fire in the area.
"We hope the program could be implemented well and be a benchmark for other companies to follow suit," Harris said.
APRIL, through its Kerinci, Indonesia-based RAPP unit, manages plantations in Riau Province that provides wood for its pulp and paper mill. To prevent the loss of mill wood, the company aggressively combats fires and prohibits burning on its land.
Fires annually pose a threat in Sumatra during the dry months of June-to-October. Most are deliberately started to clear land for agriculture. They create dense clouds of haze that blanket skies from Sumatra to Singapore.