Around two hours’ drive from the city of Jambi, capital of Indonesia’s Jambi province, one might not notice the small village called Mekar Jaya.
Despite its small size, the community is about to make an international debut because of its coffee produce, which is expected to become the backbone of local future economic development.
The coffee from the small village, which is called Liberica Betara Coffee, has recently been introduced to six states in the United States, and there are hopes of distributing the coffee throughout the international market.
All this is thanks to PetroChina’s philanthropic activities in the region.
PetroChina Indonesia, the Indonesian arm of China National Petroleum Corp, the country’s largest oil supplier and distributor, has been taking part in a sustainable agriculture productivity improvement program in the region, helping local coffee farmers improve the amount and quality of their produce.
The efforts include curing the white fungus disease on the coffee plants, donating basic necessities including huller machines, pulpers, sorting equipment and processing storage, in addition to finding sales channels home and abroad for local farmers.
PetroChina Indonesia isn’t just donating tools and equipment. The program also encourages local farmers to produce solid and liquid organic fertilizers, using natural materials to ease the dependency of local farmers on chemicals, thereby reducing production cost and running the coffee farms in a sustainable way.
In Myanmar, too, PetroChina’s subsidiary is involved in corporate responsibility efforts, donating more than $24 million to help local villagers build roads, connect grids and set up communication networks, in addition to providing medical services and founding a vocational school to provide local farmers with skills that enable them to find better jobs.
Formerly, many Chinese companies did not attach much importance to philanthropic practices while doing projects abroad, investing very limited resources in this area.
However, thanks to the fast development of both the Chinese economy and society, many domestic companies are paying a lot of attention to local livelihood improvement while involving themselves with projects－especially in countries and regions participating the Belt and Road Initiative.
These charity efforts, in turn, have greatly facilitated their local project processes by building trust and favorable impressions among local farmers and other village residents. After all, it isn’t rare for locals to oppose multinationals involved in infrastructure projects due to lack of trust or resentment.
That history is part of what makes the Belt and Road Initiative under such an impactful global infrastructure program－not only a way for China’s companies to leverage their vast experience in large infrastructure projects gained in the country’s urbanization process, but also a blueprint, as it were, for a new world trade order.
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