Strengthening the Foundations of West Papua’s Economy through Empowering Areca Palm Sellers

Encouraging economic activity while supporting the preservation of one of the West Papuan cultures, PT Freeport Indonesia collaborates with partners running the Pondok Pinang program.

Encouraging economic activity while supporting the preservation of one of the Papuan cultures, PT Freeport Indonesia collaborates with several partners to run the Micro and Small Business Development Program (PPUMKM) under the name Pondok Pinang program. This program was launched on August 28 by cooperating with 50 betel nut vendors.

The Pondok Pinang program helps the madam sellers in Timika with basic basic economics and marketing and disburses capital assistance. In addition, the mongers who usually sell their merchandise on the floor are assisted with a hut to sell betel nuts. This program is carried out in the hope of being able to increase competency and competitiveness which ultimately can increase family income and women’s contribution to economic development.

“In the Pondok Pinang program Freeport cooperates with BRI Bank in the Timika branch office and Mimika Regency Government through the Cooperative and Creative Economy Office, the Industry & Trade Office (Diskoperindag), the Women’s Empowerment Office, Child Protection and Family Planning (P3AP2KB) and the City Planning Office. , “Ronny Yawan, PTFI’s PPUMKM program person in charge, provided assistance to the betel nut vendors in Timika on Thursday (09/13/2018).

For information the Papuan people have cultural wealth and traditions that are passed on from one generation to the next. One tradition that is still inherent in Papuan society is chewing betel nuts. Picking up betel nuts is believed by the Papuan people to strengthen teeth, as well as gums and various other benefits.

Areca nut chewing is part of the social life structure as a bond between friendship and intimacy. Not only that, enjoying betel fruit has shifted into a lifestyle of the Papuan people in general. The need for betel nuts continues to increase. Even betel nut provides its own economic opportunity which for some indigenous Papuans is the foundation of the family economy.

“With the high need for betel nuts, betel nut sellers are scattered in Papua. All this time, betel nut salesmen have become a common sight in various cities in Papua. The mothers peddled their traditional merchandise in various places starting from the market, in the store’s overhang, on the crowded sidewalks to the front of the gas station, “explained Ronny.

According to him, selling betel nut became a sign of the local economy’s stretching as well as a sign of the areca nut eating culture that was continuously maintained in the land of Papua. The same atmosphere is also present in Timika, the capital of Mimika Regency. The betel nut vendors sell packages of betel nuts and lime and betel stems that are sold for Rp. 10,000 per plastic which usually contains 10 to 15 pieces. Generally the betel package for indigenous Papuans runs out in one consumption.

Ronny Yawan explained that the form of contributions provided by PTFI through this program included the pinang distribution service, the supplier formed in this program was responsible for distributing betel nuts to all program participants.

This is intended to reduce transportation costs and reduce unnecessary production costs so that income increases. Suppliers are equipped with transportation equipment to facilitate the process of distributing betel nuts.

“Freeport provides assistance, coaching and training services for the Pondok Pinang program participants. To increase the business of the Pinang program participants, the Pondok Pinang program participants were also given working capital credit facilities as needed. In addition, of course, to make it easier to sell, the program participants are assisted by a selling place called Pondok Pinang, “he explained.

One of the pinang seller mama Agustina M. Yoku enthusiastically told me that she and her friends felt helped by this program. He explained that he knew how to sell betel nuts to make them more profitable and get capital convenience and supply of areca nuts.

“I really like the Pinang hut which is given to me to sell it,” Agustina said, one of the betel nut moms. “Hopefully the betel nuts I sell are more salable,” Agustina.

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