The Journey of Local Cacao as the Core Commodity from West Papua

West Papua
Sumber : Tempo

There have been long efforts to revive cacao as another leading commodity from West Papua. The most recent one shows a great collaboration of different parties: farmers, the federal and regional governments, private sectors, and other non-government organizations. 

Ransiki Cacao – The Journey Begins

West Papua
Sumber : Kompas

Indonesian cocoa at a glance

According to International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) statistics, Indonesia is the world’s 6th largest cacao-producing country. Most of the time, cocoa exports are in the form of raw beans instead of processed ones.  Based on the roots, the cocoa beans from Indonesia fall into three varieties, namely Forastero, Criollo, and Trinitario.

Sulawesi is Indonesia’s highest cacao producer accounts for 75 percent of nationwide production, followed by other regions such as North Sumatra, West Papua, East Kalimantan, and West Java. 

The Ransiki cacao

We will start our cacao to chocolate journey from Abreso Village of Ransiki District in the South Manokwari Regency, West Papua.

Cacao has been a local commodity with its long history of golden age during the 80s to 90s. The native community has been cocoa farmers for generations.

Have been stopped since 2016, there is an increasing revival of Ransiki cacao plantation activities in the last few years. It has been specifically the collaboration result between the government, Pipiltin Cocoa, the Green Trade Initiative Foundation, and Cooperative Eiber Suth.

Of over 1,500 hectares of cacao plantations in this area, the productions only come from 200 hectares. 

Riki cacao is the variety of local Trinitario or Forastero clones. They offer the tasting of a bright jasmine floral acidity with olives and cashew nuts as tones. 

The Cooperative Eiber Suth 

The re-establishment of cooperative Eiber Suth is one of the contributors to the revival of Ransiki cacao activities in the forest buffer zone area of the Arfak Mountains. 

The cooperative currently manages about two hundred local farmers and fully re-operates about 200 of 1,668 hectares of cacao plantations. It receives around 45 tons of cocoa per month. The price may differ between the beans and the fermented ones.  

The restoration of Resinki cacao indeed has successfully helped the local farmers, improved the local community welfare, and also preserved nature. 

An industry living in harmony with nature

West Papua is one of the first Conversation Provinces in Indonesia, with 70 percent of conservation areas. Consequently, the province has to protect its specific marine and terrestrial ecosystems (the most intact and healthiest). 

Also, the green economy should promote the creation of sustainable employment and recognize the rights of the indigenous people.

The federal and West Papua governments have taken some strategies, such as no over-exploitation in the upstream lands, finding the market, knowing the demand, and fixing the supply chains. 

It is also true with cacao as one of the commercial commodities. The local people are already aware of the significance of making a living that is in harmony with mother nature. For example, they know that if they cut down the forest, their cacao quality and the taste will suffer the impact.

Also, they are aware of the recent ecotourism activities like bird watching. For example, the Arfak Mountains have been widely known as the native habitat of the newly discovered Vogelkop Superb Bird of Paradise (in 2018). 

From Ransiki to the World

The conservation branding does not mean closing the door to any business investors. It means to do it more responsibly and by considering ecotourism. 

Therefore, the government expects that the cacao and chocolate from the remote Rasinki district can open the door and attract more business investments that are in harmony with nature. 

If you encounter and taste a Ransiki chocolate bar, you will find a rich and unique flavor. This final product tells its long journey, from its native cacao plantations in West Papua to harvesting, processing, and global distributing passages.