At Cacao, we are proud to partner with the Masarang, an Indonesia environmental foundation that supplies us with Arenga palm sugar.
Masarang was founded in 2001 by Dr. Willie Smits, a Dutch-born naturalised Indonesian who has spent his career studying tropical rainforests. In the 1980s, he learned that the Arenga sugar palm could be a versatile, potentially profitable food source for people, and later discovered that it could grow well on barren land, but only if planted alongside a wide variety of other plant species. Realising that this would also make it a powerful tool for reforestation, Willie then set up the Masarang Foundation to create a sustainable market for sugar made from the sap of the Arenga palm.
Since then, Masarang’s sugar palm reforestation efforts have planted over 35 million trees in Indonesia, restoring entire rainforest ecosystems on land that had once been stripped bare. Masarang also offers contracts to local sugar tappers ensuring that they and their communities receive the bulk of the sugar profits in return for protecting and restoring the rainforest. Through their contracts with Masarang, these communities have seen their incomes increase tenfold and can now afford the best housing and education for their children.
Masarang also engages in wildlife conservation work funded partially by sugar profits. The Tasikoki Wildlife Rescue Centre in North Sulawesi works to intercept illegally traded wildlife -including parrots, sun bears and primates- and rehabilitate them for return to the wild. Also in North Sulawesi, Masarang owns and manages an important sea turtle nesting beach, protecting eggs from poachers and releasing baby turtles to the sea after they hatch.