The land of Papua is famous for its various beautiful sceneries and the people’s authentic culture. These blessings have transformed the island to be one of the most notable tourist destinations. However, the tourism sector alone is not able to support and fulfill the Papuans’ basic needs, especially food. Right now, the majority of the family’s livelihood in West Papua depends on natural materials or wildlife.
Yet again, the amount of flora and fauna present in nature might not be able to sustain the growth of the province’s population. The national and local government has noticed this problem and planned to build food resilience for the people. All parties must take a part in developing this resilience by constructing the necessary infrastructure and technology.
The Change in the Majority of the Family’s Livelihood in West Papua
Many native people from various regencies in West Papua have changed their course of livelihood from harvesting forest products to focusing on large-scale agriculture. They have been farming since years ago but on a minimal scale, enough to secure food for one family. Right now, the focus shifts to sustaining the livelihood of the entire community.
As consequence, there is a need for support coming from the government. To guarantee success in the agricultural sector, people must possess knowledge of crop cultivation such as soil fertility, seeding, pest control, fertilizer, and so on. People in Kaimana and Manokwari Regency have undergone training depending on their focus on farming either vegetables or tubers.
Furthermore, large-scale farming requires technological intervention. To answer this concern, the government has provided essential training and appropriate technology to improve people’s productivity. Also, the government provides intensive assistance to help people become more familiar with the technology.
Marine Resources and Fisheries
West Papua has an abundant marine resource and biodiversity. People who live in the coastal areas utilize this resource and work as fishermen. However, there was a loss of marine biodiversity because of marine pollution or damaging fishing practices. That is why the government and local people have paid extra attention to lessen the impact and prevent the problem.
There is also a conservation strategy to protect West Papua’s marine biodiversity and resources (fishes and corals). This strategy consolidates the people’s commitment to conserving said biodiversity and managing the resources carefully. Thus, this situation can create a sustainable source for the majority of the family’s livelihood.
In addition, the country and province also put strict rules to protect the population of Manta Rays and coral reefs. Under Indonesia’s law, it is forbidden to disturb, catch, or trade Manta Ray’s body parts for any reason. Thus, there is a concentrated Manta nursery zone to protect the young ones.
The national and local government continues to encourage the development of livestock potential in West Papua. Their program aims to improve the economy and livelihood of the community. As such, they planned to build several infrastructures for animal husbandry suited to West Papua’s natural conditions.
This program has taken place in Sorong and Raja Ampat Regency. These two places are suitable for the development of extensive beef cattle. To support this potential, they utilized grazing land or the ranch system. Sorong and Raja Ampat Regency have proven to be suitable places for the reproduction of Balinese cattle and native chicken.
The majority of the family’s livelihood in West Papua does not rely heavily on forest products anymore. The local government and native people have taken a big step in utilizing the land for agriculture, marine activity, and animal husbandry. This change is crucial to ensure food security and sustain the people’s livelihood.