The hidden potential of agriculture in West Papua could be unlocked by maximizing every endeavor of the government, local community, and farmers. Indonesian President, Mr. Joko Widodo, believed that the province has a great prospect in agriculture, especially in corn plantations. Thus, he ordered the Minister of Agriculture and the regional government to spare no effort to improve the farmers’ productivity and production capacity.
The government has contributed to gradually assisting the local community in cultivating the land and transferring knowledge of land-use planning for plantations. To ensure the improvement, the national government has prepared the necessary training program for hundreds of millennial farmers. Also, the officials will provide direct assistance to guide some cultivations of agricultural products. There is some ongoing development to advance West Papua’s agricultural industry, what are they?
Developments to Maximize the Potential of Agriculture in West Papua
Providing Extensive Land and Capital for Corp Cultivation
West Papua has the perfect soil to grow some agricultural commodities. This fact makes the government give its full support in providing extensive lands and capital to the local government and farmers. The Minister of Agriculture, Mentan Syahrul, said that there is a wide land with the size of 12 thousand hectares suitable for cocoa commodity. He also added another 165 thousand hectares for coffee commodities.
In addition, there are many other possible agricultural commodities that will be planted in the province. To name a few, they are cashew, cotton, coconut, sugar cane, and oil palm trees. The province also has 11 thousand of hectares of corn plantations and 7 million hectares of other commodities. In total, West Papua has 5,4 million hectares suitable for farming. Also, the national government provided the capital with the amount of 49,6 billion rupiahs for this development.
Improving the Quality of Human Resources
The President has provided a training program for the farmers to further understand the basic knowledge needed for successful cultivation. He has invited all farmers to keep on learning and join the training to reinforce the sector of agriculture in West Papua. The regional government also provided classes for beginner farmers in several areas such as Jayapura and Manokwari.
Through this class and training, the farmers will be able to use the capital called Kredit Usaha Rakyat (UKR) or the People’s Business Credit. This program is crucial to make sure that the production capacity from changing the cropping system to twice or thrice a year will provide sufficient food for the people and cattle.
Agricultural Infrastructure Development
West Papua has designated many agricultural infrastructures to support the industry such as 14 Irrigation Areas using the river water and several dams in Salawati, Walal, Waiab, South Waigeo, and others. The Irrigation area covers 31.514 hectares of land for paddy rice. Manokwari and Sorong Regency are the centers of this commodity. However, there is a need to develop additional paddy fields to balance the potential of irrigation areas.
The farmers of West Papua also need more access to land roads to connect with other regencies, especially the remote ones. To this day, the land road infrastructure mainly connects four areas: Sorong City and Regency of Manokwari, Sorong, and Fak-Fak. If left behind, this problem could lead to the province’s underdevelopment of the agricultural sector.
To support the great potential, the government has to hasten the sector of agriculture in West Papua. This requires a well-planned strategy for accelerating development. The government should pay more attention to the balance between the development of the economy, the available natural resources, the quality of human resources, and the market.