Other commodities with potential
Previously decimated by disease, another important value chain – cacao – is being rehabilitated with the building of small nursery businesses. The GEGPP team has been in negotiations with chocolate producers to buy the cacao once the trees start bearing fruit and is exploring an opportunity with a factory in Bali to assist in the creation of a Papua-origin brand of gourmet chocolate. GEG’s assistance to the cacao farmers attracted the attention the Packard Foundation who subsequently provided a two-year USD 200,000 grant to support cacao and nutmeg farmers in Jayapura and Fakfak regencies, respectively. As the nutmeg market is strictly controlled, focus has been on diversifying derivative products, such as nutmeg butter, which are produced in low volume but have a high value.
Virgin coconut oil is another commodity with strong potential despite its history of highly decentralised and piecemeal production. In the last year, the team has focused on building the business capacity of the women’s groups that produce the oil. They have supported two promising cooperatives of micro-producers to become high-quality production, storage and distribution hubs for the other smaller groups. Across the entire programme, women represent 65% of all beneficiaries.
Encouraging entrepreneurship, especially among the youth
In the design of GEGPP, it was assumed the private sector would play a big roles in driving the development of the value chains through the programme’s interventions. This has proved challenging due to the small pool of players who form the “bridges” connecting the value chain together. The team has been very active in encouraging and mentoring potential local Papuan service providers, identifying promising entrepreneurs and providing resources and training. As part of private sector development efforts, young entrepreneurs were invited to an oversubscribed digital marketing training in March where participants created multiple agri-product websites such as this one for Reymey, which sells original Papuan handcrafts.
As there is still a lack of trust between rural agri-producers and service providers, the GEGPP approach has been to use a bottom-up ‘listening model’ to understand risks and tackle them jointly between the producer communities and the buyers and traders. GEGPP has also adapted business planning approaches to low financial literacy and capacity levels. The team has been using a simplified tool called the business canvas, which is the initial step in capacity building on how to plan a small simple business and test commitment to more sophisticated planning. Registered village enterprises (known as BUMKAMs) is also an initiative that the team is promoting as they have the potential to fill a vital niche role for producer communities to try and develop production centres and small business models. In an upcoming pilot stage, the goal is to establish quality BUMKAMs that can be models for others across the province.
Learn more about the Green Economic Growth Programme for Papua Provinces on the project page.