Peat is a global treasure with its function as carbon storage, water management, wildlife preservation, and archaeological and cultural heritage. However, peat must be wet to function well. Peat fire is one of the biggest contributing factors to Indonesia’s emissions and toxic haze levels. The Siak District, like several other regions in Riau Province, experienced a massive peat fire incident in 2015 with devastating economic and health consequences. In response, the government has taken stricter measures through policies for peat protection. While larger companies can adjust to the new rules, communities living in and surrounding peat ecosystems are struggling to find effective alternatives. Even when they successfully develop peat-friendly commodities, there is a limited sales margin when sold as raw materials.
HEAL Fisheries helps communities cultivate snakehead fish in peatland canals, and provides ways to harvest value-added products such as albumin from the fish in addition to food. This additional revenue, and a linkage between environmental quality and product quality, enables and encourages community conservation of peat ecosystems. It is anchored on the need to protect and preserve peat ecosystems in Siak and beyond to act as carbon sinks and prevent peat fires. HEAL Fisheries builds community-based enterprises and encourages community ownership. HEAL Fisheries also aims to address the growing need to strengthen immune systems during and post-pandemic through health and nutrition products, particularly for vulnerable communities.
With an estimated market size of $6.77 billion by 2026, albumin extract from snakehead fish is a strategic business choice that allows communities to build viable, scalable businesses. Siak District has the largest peatland on the island of Sumatra with a population of 457,940 people. 57 percent of the Siak District area is peatland, and approximately 100,000 community members live in villages within and surrounding peat ecosystems.
Furthermore, Indonesia has the second-highest growth of health and food supplement products in the ASEAN region (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), contributing 35 percent of the ASEAN Economic Zone. Health food supplements provide a revenue of Rp 4.5 trillion ($318 million), and the food supplement market in Indonesia is expected to grow 15 percent per year. From data of available products sales' which are albumin-based, consumers in Indonesia are willing to pay up to $30 per month for health supplements.
Won The GM Prize, Climate and Land Use Alliance Prize, and Good Energies Foundation Prize at 2021 Solve Challenge Finals.
Team Lead Gita Syahrani was the 2017 leader on energy and sustainability for the US State Department IVLP program, won the 2018 Global Alumni Engagement Innovation Fund (AIEF), selected as a 2019 Asia 21 Young Leader by Asia Society, and selected as a Henry Arnhold Fellow of Mulago Foundation in 2020.
HEAL Fisheries seeks:
Connections to universities and research institutions to validate their cultivation methods and build community trust.
A network of community-based enterprises to help inform our business model.
Market insights and strategy for the health and nutrition industry in Indonesia and Asia Pacific context.