The Economic Growth of West Papua, The Industries that Supports It

West Papua

The region of West Papua is widely known for being at the easternmost part of Indonesia. In the past few years, it gained the attention of the Indonesian government more than ever. The recent development of infrastructure may support the economic growth of West Papua.

Infrastructure is an important aspect. However, the role of industries that utilized the infrastructure must also receive equal attention to develop even better. Many industries can contribute to West Papua’s economic potential.  Here are those industries:

  • Mining

West Papua

West Papua has the world’s key mining industry besides South Africa. The development of this natural wealth can be utilized to increase the region’s economic growth. The mining area is concentrated in the Baliem Valley, Fak Fak, Grasberg and Erstberg mountains, and so on. For example, Grasberg mountain is the biggest gold mine in the world; it is also the second-largest copper mine. The mining activities and production are performed daily.

Grasberg mountain mine is divided into three sections, the Big Gossan underground mine, the open pit, and the Deep Ore Zone underground. The valuable mineral inside the mine is estimated to last up to 30 years later. In the middle of 2018, the Indonesian government made a deal with freeport and now has 51% of its stock.

  • Agriculture

West Papua

The agriculture industry is another potential that needs to be developed by the government.  In comparison with other Indonesian provinces such as Sumatra or Java, this segment is less known to the public. This industry impacts more than the mining industry because the local people of West Papua manage it. There are four main agricultural commodities available, such as seaweed, yam, Wamena’s coffee, and cocoa. All four of them has the potential to be exported to add earnings to the locals.

Some of the known chocolate plantations are located in the regency of Sarmi, Jayapura and Keerom. From those well-known places, the government may want to make the plantation that is already located in West Papua to be recognized as well. Therefore, it can increase the domestic earnings as Papuan cacaos are extremely favored by other provinces in Indonesia as well as Malaysia and Singapore. The larger fruit size and their distinctive taste made them unique from other species of cocoa.

Aside from cocoa, Wamena’s coffee may need some further assistance as it gained popularity among coffee lovers in Indonesia and the United States. The coffee’s honey-like chocolatey, caramel aroma certainly caught the attention of coffee enthusiasts. Therefore, developing Wamena coffee plantation may be able to support the economic growth of West Papua.

  • Fishing

West Papua

Surrounded by the waters of the Arafura Sea and the Pacific Ocean, West Papua’s fishing industry has plenty of products. It can be achieved due to the fisherman’s hard-work. Therefore, the government should further develop their skills and equipment. According to the Sorong government, there is an increase in traditional anglers of nearly 2.500 locals in 2016. 

The major catches include Layang fish, Skipjack Tuna, Mackarel, Anchovies, and Tuna. The fishes obtained by the locals are locally exported to other cities such as Kendari, Makasar and Tuai. Three well-known fishing harbors has been established, which is in Merauke, Biak and Mimika.

  • Tourism

West Papua

Another industry that can offer economic growth is none other than tourism. We all know that West Papua is famous for its Raja Ampat. Therefore, the local Culture and Tourism Office are making every effort to optimize the management of every tourism potential locations, including Raja Ampat, to improve the welfare of the local community in the area.

In less than two hours from Sorong, tourists can reach Raja Ampat for numerous activities such as relaxing, snorkeling, swimming and diving. The beautiful scenery of Raja Ampat can be enjoyed both on surface and underwater. 

Other than Raja Ampat, there are other places notable to visit, and Arfak Mountain in Manokwari is one of them. Tourists can enjoy ecotourism activities while observing the endemic plants and animals. 

Tourism villages are also available in the Raja Ampat area, one of the most popular ones is Arborek Tourism Village. It represents the beauty of West Papua. Homestays are also available, the locals will greet you warmly, and there are many activities to do. It is a clean and peaceful village.

From mining to tourism, the economic growth of West Papua depends on all of them. It is crucial to develop and keeping an eye on the welfare of those involved in it. As the region’s economy becomes stronger, more job opportunities will come. It is essential to improve the quality of human resources through education to answer those demands. 

The development of local human resource will ensure that the local people of West Papua will be skilled enough to manage their natural resources. Aside from that, they can also qualify for the job opportunities available. Therefore, maintaining the welfare of West Papuan.