Realizing Cacao As A Prime Commodity
Efforts are currently underway to bring about a new breakthrough in community economic development in Mimika, through cacao cultivation. Mimika Regency apparently has potential for cacao cultivation. And PTFI is making good use of this potential to develop the economies of communities near its operations area. By way of the SLD department, along with a number of local departments and agencies, a venture to set up a people’s plantation has been initiated in the SP-12 area in Kuala Kencana District.
10 thousand cacao trees have been planted on a tract of land covering tens of hectares. Planting was undertaken by PTFI in conjunction with the Mimika Administration, the Yayasan Jayasakti Mandiri (YJM) foundation, and sponsorship from private companies, SOEs, and banks. Planting was carried out on Monday (20/4) at Kampung Utikini Baru (SP 12), carrying the theme of “Realizing Cacao as a Prime Commodity and for Nature Conservation In Mimika”.
As we all know, through the years cacao production in Indonesia has been steadily on the rise since it was first introduced and intensified in 1983. Almost all cacao plantation areas have undergone expansion of their operation areas. Cacao is being cultivated through najor agro-industry as well as small-scale plantations, and indeed, the lion’s share of production comes from millions of independent growers who each own a few trees.
In light of this potential, cacao cultivation on a large scale was begun in Mimika after undergoing a three-year trial period.
The event to plant 10 thousand cacao trees was attended by Mimika Vice Regent Yohanis Bassang, SE, MSi, Military Resort 174 ATW Merauke Commander Brigadier General Supartodi, PTFI management representative Lasmayda Siregar (EVP for Local Development and Human Rights), Military District 1710/Mimika Commander Lieutenant Colonel (Inf) Raffles Manurung, representatives from the local police, the Naval Base Commander, the Air Base Commander, heads of local government agencies, representatives of state-owned and regionally-owned companies, district chiefs, and cacao growers.
The head of Yayasan Jayasakti Mandiri foundation, Devia Mom reported, the foundation had been attempting to cultivate cacao since 2011. Trial plantings were carried out in a number of places such as Kampung Naena Muktipura (SP 6), Kwamki Narama, SP 12 and others. Mimika was found to be a promising location for cacao cultivation. The first harvest yielded 2 tons of dry cacao beans ready to sell.
Mimika Vice Regent Yohanis Bassang voiced his appreciation of the efforts made by PTFI and the community to develop cacao cultivation. PTFI has demonstrated its concern for empowering Papuans.
Bassang said cacao cultivation was necessary for the community’s future welfare. Bassang voiced the hope that those concerned would support this venture. “Not only for cacao cultivation, but other crops suited to soil structure in Mimika regency should be developed towards building a force to boost the economy, specifically through agriculture. The regency’s development is not the responsibility of government alone, but should be shouldered by all,” he exhorted.
Bassang also expressed the hope that the planting of 10 thousand trees would be a sustained effort under a joint commitment to attain more benefits ahead for the community. The planting of cacao trees was also expected to shape or create a more prosperous and self-reliant society. To this end, continuous synergy among all was needed.
On behalf of PTFI management, Lasmayda Siregar said the planting of cacao trees was by way of providing a starting point for cacao to drive the economy in Mimika in the future. Lasmayda also voiced the hope for concerted actions under the partnership among PTFI, the Mimika Administration, and others to bring about an economy in Mimika that will lead to prosperity.
“Hopefully at some point we will be buying chocolate made in Mimika. How wonderful it would be to go abroad and buy chocolate carrying the logo made in Mimika. We are rooting for a glorious Mimika, for a greater income for Mimika, for the people to prosper through cacao cultivation,” she said. (Hendrikus)
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