West Papua covers up to 90 percent of their territory. Ironically, West Papua has also been struggling in a lot of life aspects. One of them is in terms of economy. In that case, what can be done to support the economic development in West Papua?
The Earth Innovation Institute has been involved in supporting the development of West Papua since 2013. Their effort is to foster a transition from high to low-emission rural development. If that and the reduction of deforestation are successful, then it will get easier to reach sustainable and small-scale production.
Of course, this will also mean a green and inclusive economy for the people of West Papua. After all, reducing greenhouse gas emissions this way by 29 to 41 percent by 2030 also has been part of Indonesia’s long-term commitment to the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.
When it comes to economy in West Papua, it cannot be separated from its environment. The economic growth and development must also ensure that natural assets still provide the environmental resources and services for the local community’s well-being.
Sorong As the Model City
No worries, because now West Papua has several cities and towns to support their economic and financial developments. Sorong can be considered a model city. Even back when the Dutch settlers were still colonizing Indonesia, including West Papua, Sorong had already been well-known for its natural resources and economic potentials.
This city’s name is derived from a Biak word “soren”, which means “deep and wavy sea”. The Biak sailors came to this island as part of their trading business. It was the Chinese and Indian traders who had later mispronounced that word into “Sorong” during their trading businesses in New Guinea.
The European missionaries and sailors from Maluku had also followed the later mispronunciation of the place.
Environmentally, Sorong has got a lot of advantages too. For starters, it has three (3) different types of area: the highland, the lowland, and the mountain areas. Then rain happens quite a lot here, which is basically nearly every month. The humidity level is 84 percent. Sorong is also rich with oil as one of its natural resources.
Because of this, the local citizens have no problems in farming. Sorong is also rich with rivers. There are Remu, Klagison, Duyung, Klabala, Klasaman, and Rufei rivers here. Sago is the main food they produce from farming. It is no surprise that Sorong is a favorite destination to migrants and investors.
No wonder that Sorong has become a model city when it comes to economic development in West Papua. Its growth is fast.
From The Economical Potentials to Small Businesses
As a model city in West Papua, Sorong has got economical potentials from natural resources, such as oil. In the present time as it is now, Sorong relies on properties, transportations, trading, and also services to keep their economy running well. Since 2010, Sorong has developed even faster in the matters of economy and finances.
Since 2013, small businesses in Sorong have also grown significantly. There are several traditional markets that support small businesses in Sorong.
In September 2017, Sorong only had 0.12 percent deflation. It turned out that farming was not the only thing that could support the economic development in West Papua, specifically in Sorong. In fisheries, small businesses here sold plenty of things, from dried, tuna, and kawalina fish. They also sold jackfruit, garlic and onions, and also spinach.
Actually, there are still plenty of economical potentials in Sorong, both in farming and fishing industries. That is why Sele Strait is mentioned as the place to develop both of them, in order to boost the economic growth in West Papua. As a model city, Sorong can be the place for this.
How to Have A Better Economic development
The rest of West Papua can definitely learn from Sorong, although perhaps with a little difference or so. The main key is to stay in balance with nature. It is okay to benefit from natural resources, as long as people in West Papua can keep the environment clean.
Another way to support the economic development in West Papua is to rely on small and medium local businesses. This also goes especially to businesses that are related to foods. After all, people will always need to eat. It does not matter if the world economy is in a crisis or not. It has been proven that small-scale and medium businesses last much longer than the big ones.
There are still other industries that need to be supported, in the name of economic development in West Papua. Since the environment is mostly still rich in greens, ecotourism still works wonders. Of course, let’s not forget about giving prosperity to the local citizens of West Papua. After all, this is their homeland. They must be prioritized.