As Indonesia’s second easternmost province, West Papua is surprisingly not noticeable enough regarding people’s awareness of its economic potentials. However, this doesn’t mean that West Papua is entirely devoid of any economic value at all! Economic potentials from the province’s untapped economic sectors can yield significant results to the province’s overall economic development, according to Joko Widodo (Jokowi), the President of Indonesia.
Considering that the province still lacks any meaningful infrastructure development that can enhance the utilization of local economic sectors, most of the economic potentials in the province haven’t been fully known to the masses. However, looks aren’t everything. To the experts, the province contains numerous economic sectors that can provide economic income to the local development.
Economic Sectors of West Papua
So, if you’re already curious about the province’s economic sectors, here’s the explanation that you can read!
To begin the explanation, let’s start with the first sector in this list, which is the processing industry! Thus far, the processing industry in the province commonly processes cement and liquefied natural gas (LNG) for different needs in Manokwari Regency and Tangguh Block, Bintuni Bay Regency.
In Bintuni, the currently existing industry is pushed to process fertilizers, aluminum, methanol, and other materials that can be used for numerous purposes.
However, recently there have been decreasing prices for processed cement and LNG in the region due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nonetheless, there have been calls to reinvigorate the industry by involving the local populace to participate the industry.
Surprisingly, the province contains many mining materials that can be used for economic purposes! Thus far, the noticed mining sources in the province contain gold, LNG, petroleum, and coal.
In the region, the gold mines are located in Masni District, Manokwari Regency. A clear administration process is currently underway to ensure transparency between the mining activities and transfer of income from the local populace to the government and vice versa.
On the other hand, petroleum and natural gas can be discovered in Bintuni Regency. To that end, the local government and Petrotekno energy company have founded the Industrial, Oil, and Gas Engineering Training Center (P2TIM) in the regency to enhance the local population’s capability in refining the local mining industry potentials for their economic development.
So far, exported energy materials from the province are sent to China, South Korea, and Japan, with their respective export markets span to 66% (China), 17% (South Korea), and 9% (Japan).
Considering that the province still lacks major connective infrastructure that can be easily found in other provinces in Java, Sumatra, and other islands, calls have been made to accelerate the province’s infrastructure construction.
So far, the construction industry in the region is supported by cement procurement from local sources. Most of the available cement resources focus on making bridges, buildings, and other locations deemed essential for the province’s infrastructure development.
Agriculture, forestry, and fishery
Of all sectors, the three sectors of agriculture, forestry, and fishery are deemed some of the province’s most potential economic sectors. According to Indonesia’s Minister of Agriculture Syahrul Yasin Limpo, about 7 million acres of land in the province can be significantly used for further agricultural purposes.
At the same time, several important Indonesian food materials from agricultural products such as garlic, shallots, and cayenne pepper are still mainly supplied from other provinces.
As of this writing, the main non-energy commodity export from the province is pearls. Usually, the pearls from the province are commonly exported to Hong Kong during the occasional high demand for jewelry in the metropolitan city.
Apart from pearls, seafood exports such as fresh/frozen prawns and fresh fish are some of the most common fishery results in the province. These seafood products, renowned in Indonesia for enriching the Eastern Indonesian cuisine diversity, are projected to increase their export and cultivation due to their quality.
As for forestry products, processed wood is the most common product exported from the province.
Considering the province’s still pristine natural lands, efforts have been taken to ensure such locations are preserved while increasing the local populace’s economic sustainability from such places.
To fulfill this vision, several customary territories (wilayah adat) in the province, such as Malaumkarta in Sorong Regency and Moi Kelim Customary Territory, rely on their local wisdom to sustain their daily lives without putting too much burden on their natural living spaces.
Approximately, Malaumkarta can earn Rp 1.6 billion each year from its notable fishery industry. At the same time, Moi Kelim is projected to earn Rp 168 billion each year from its environmental and local products. Amazing, right?
From this brief explanation, now we can see how West Papua has many economic sectors that can help the infrastructure development in the province so that the local population can reap the benefits for their well-being. Let’s hope that these infrastructures can be built immediately soon!