West Papua No.1 News Portal | Jubi
South Manokwari, Jubi – A green economy initiative inspires a dozen young farmers and calls for more young people from 13 kampung in Ransiki District, South Manokwari Regency, in West Papua, to become cacao farmers.
The initiative, organized by Eiber Suth Cokran Cooperative, provides trainings for the young farmers to proliferate the seeds and manage cacao plantation professionally.
“Now, we are training 12 people,” said Abdul, the cooperative manager.
The initiative is part of Papua Green Economy Program, which is a cooperation between Indonesian and UK governments. The program develops agricultural knowledge among teh farmers for several commodities like coffee, cacao, nutmeg, coconuts and seaweed.
“Ransiki District receives 13 development programs on cacao. Among the programs are procurement of production facility support, certification and legalization of seedlings,” said deputy head of the green economy program, Alex Rumaseb.
The program also built 20 cacao nurseries to guarantee seedling supplies in Ransiki.
Rumaseb said the training also provided propagation methods of the premium cacao seedlings.
The Green Economy Program planned to improve the financial management of the Eiber Suth Cokran Cooperative to make it stronger.
“The program also gives incentives, every month, to each young farmer who joins the training. It aims at attracting more people to join,” said Rumaseb.
A trainee, Dolli Bonggoibo, 22, said he would apply the knowledge he gained in the training to his parent’s cocoa field in the kampung.
Eiber Suth Cokran Cooperative was established by South Manokwari Regency administration on Sept. 16, 2017. Three years later, West Papua Governor Dominggus Mandacan officiated a chocolate production house belonging to the cooperative.
Later, Green Economy Program got involved to help the cooperative and the local administration achieve the dream to revive the glory of Ransiki cacao like three decades ago. The program aimed at rehabilitating 1,000 hectares of cacao field to produce premium cacao.
In November 2020, Eiber Suth Cokran Cooperative had managed 200 hectare of cacao field, the green economy program revealed.
The cacao business in the area came to a halt after a chocolate producing company, PT Cokran, went bankrupt.
“The glory of Ransiki cacao came to a abrupt halt after PT Cokran went bankrupt. The company even neglected thousands of employees,” said Mandacan, during the groundbreaking of the cacao production innovation building in Ransiki in February.
In February, he said he wanted South Manokwari to become the hub for cacao agriculture in East Indonesia.
Mandacan said cacao was a commodity that could grow without the need to clear forests and it could be a good resource for West Papua. The province had put cacao in the development acceleration program launched by President Joko Widodo.
“I have ordered the formation of a task force of premium commodities including cacao. The members are multi stakeholders, including the representatives of the central bank in West Papua,” he said.
Last year, the head of Research and Development Agency in West Papua province, Charlie D. Heatubun, said the selling price of premium cacao in the cooperative was Rp 45,000 per kg and regular cacao Rp 30,000. As of November 2020, Eibeth Sur Cokran Cooperative managed Rp 2.8 billion from cacao, Heatubun said.
Statistics Indonesia revealed that in 2019, Indonesia produced 769,000 metric tons of cacao, 99 percent of them came from people’s plantations. Five provinces that were top producers of cacao in 2019 were South Sulawesi, Southeast Sulawesi, Central Sulawesi, West Sulawesi, and West Sumatra.
The statistics also showed that the size of cacao plantations across the country was in declining trend, from 1.71 million hectares in 2015 to 1.61 million hectares in 2018. The agency estimated in 2019 it would decline to 1.59 million hectares.
In 2019 in West Papua province, cacao plantations reached 14,394 hectares, less than that of neighboring Papua province with 34,500 hectares. The production in West Papua province was 5,239 tons in 2019, while in Papua province the production reached 10,841 tons.
Reporter: Hans Kapisa
Editor: Aries Munandar, Edho Sinaga