Transmigration has been implemented in Indonesia as an effective strategy to control population distribution and accelerate development. This program has also been claimed and became the primary strategy for accelerating development during the New Order era, particularly in West Papua.
Despite all expectations about transmigration, people consider this program a national failure because its top-down system has created new problems in destination areas, such as land tenure conflicts. However, some transmigration sites have proven to have significant developments in several sectors. Transmigration in Wondama Bay, for example.
Teluk Wondama (Wondama Bay) district has promising natural source potential. If the transmigration program is stopped while the area needs acceleration, it is indeed irrelevant.
The Natural Resources in Wondama Bay, West Papua
In 2020, the government decided to re-open the Wondama Bay transmigration program to encourage the equal distribution of the population and development in the area. The following are the potential natural resources in Wondama Bay that need to be explored and utilized optimally:
Most of the population are farmers and fishermen. The crops they grow are typically limited to food crops, such as rice, taro, sweet potatoes, peanuts, and cassava. Unfortunately, the agricultural potential of the area has not been fully exploited. In addition, they also hunt animals such as wild boars and deer and can earn additional income by refining the oil palm.
In South Wasior and West Wasior Districts, West Papua, namely the Wosimi – Inyora plains, 40,000 hectares of land are still available for plantation development. Plantation crops that have been cultivated include cocoa, coffee, coconut, and melinjo. Cocoa is developed by both private plantations and people’s plantations.
People in Wondama Bay develop large, small, and poultry (ducks and chickens) types of livestock. Large and small livestock include pigs, deer, goats, and cows.
Forestry in Wondama Bay had produced forest products including Matoa, logs of the Merbau type, and wood for furniture. Other forest products include sago, agarwood, masoi, Lawang wood, bamboo, rattan.
Wondama Bay fishery sector has a lot of potential because it has a vast water area and high species diversity. Fishery commodities with economic value include tuna, sea cucumbers, lobster, bia Lola, pelagic fish, and shark fin.
Transmigration in Wondama Bay is Re-opened
Quoting Antara News (11/03/2020), Head of the Manpower and Transmigration Office of Teluk Wondama, I Wayan Redana, explained that Teluk and Wondama and Fakfak are two priority areas in the National Transmigration Area in West Papua Province. He also stated that the new transmigration settlement would be in Werianggi village, Nikiwar District.
The new transmigration program in Werianggi is local transmigration. It means that only local Wondama residents can occupy the settlement. The land for this program has been opened, with a capacity of 220 families. Housing construction and placement have also begun. The program was only offered to 30 families in the first phase, with the rest placed in stages until they met the quota of 220 families.
Although it is national transmigration and prioritizing indigenous residents, people from outside Papua can enter with the approval of the Ulayat rights holders. Previously in 2012, the government opened a transmigration settlement in Werianggi Village, located in Windesi District, with 150 families living in this village.
It is said that the transmigration program in Papua is hindered by local regulations that prevent people outside Papua from living there. However, this is untrue because Papua and West Papua are part of the Republic of Indonesia. In addition, as an effort to empower border areas to become the home of a safe, sovereign, and competitive country, shouldn’t population movement be fair and equitable?