Supporting economically and ecologically sustainable growth in Indonesia


The Green Economic Growth Programme for Papua Provinces aims to prevent wholesale destruction of forest resources in the largest area of intact forest remaining in South East Asia. Photo credit @GEG Team

The Green Economic Growth Programme in Papua Provinces will help develop green businesses and support small-holder farmers and entrepreneurs, while protecting the area's vulnerable forests.

March 28, 2019
  • SDG: #8, #10, #12, #13, #17
  • SECTORS: Development Consulting
  • COUNTRIES: Indonesia
  • DONOR: UK Climate Change Unit (UKCCU)
  • CLIENT: Government of Indonesia
  • CONTRACT VALUE: GBP 10,373,700
  • DURATION: September 2018 - September 2022

The forests of Indonesia are among its most valued – and exploited – resources. Many formerly forest-rich provinces such as Sumatra and Kalimantan mismanaged this resource, and forests there faced wholesale destruction at the hands of loggers and clear-cutting for palm oil plantations. The Papua Provinces, which boast the largest natural forests of Southeast Asia, are facing the same future: the current growth trajectory is high-risk and carbon-intensive, and illegal logging poses a threat to indigenous Papuans, 84% of whom are directly dependent on the forest for up to half of their income.

To meet this challenge, the Papuan Government has committed to pursuing an alternative set of growth policies. Their “Vision 2100” and “Blueprint for Sustainable Land Use” aims to offer an economic model that delivers both ecologically sustainable and equitable growth. Two key targets of these programmes are a goal of 90% forest cover as well as the reduction of areas earmarked for logging by 21%.

As a part of this initiative, in 2017, the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) launched the Green Economic Growth programme, operated by the UK’s Climate Change Unit (UKCCU), which aims both to promote sustainable economic development in the private sector and build the capacity of local authorities to manage this development and attract investors to the region. The programme runs until 2022.

31 million hectares of forest in Papua and West Papua provinces

LTS International, the newest addition to the NIRAS Group, has been contracted to provide technical assistance to Papuan small-holder farmers and to micro, small, and medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) to help build a sustainable and thriving local economic base which will not threaten the natural environment as it grows.

farmers market
A small farmstand selling produce - one outcome of learning new farming methods is higher yields, allowing farmers to sell more of their goods. Photo credit @GEG Team

The challenges faced by Papuan small-holder farmers and MSMEs include limited access to markets, high entry costs with little access to credit, a lower level of education and skills, and a lack of general coordination among officials and support organisations. To tackle these issues, the programme focuses on five core areas of activity:

  • Market systems analysis to identify, define, and pilot test the changes to markets systems needed for sustainable growth;
  • Socioeconomic planning and gender analysis to equip farmers and entrepreneurs with the “soft skills” needed to compete in the market;
  • Farming methods and production systems training to help smallholders adopt sustainable crops and land use practices;
  • Credit, finance, and small business development to help financial service providers become more active in providing credit products to these groups;
  • Business incubator and investor engagement activities through a structured programme of business incubators and process of facilitating investment.

By supporting selected farmers and MSMEs in developing capacity whilst simultaneously working with finance institutions and investors, we can demonstrate the potential of green enterprises in the goal of reducing poverty. Ultimately, proving the viability of these enterprises and leveraging successful programme interventions will attract further support and lead to a growing and sustainable green economy in the region in the long-term.

Among the many commodities which the programme helps farmers to cultivate and sell is seaweed, which has the benefit of low startup costs and easy access to markets. Photo credit @GEG Team

During the inception phase, the team has identified the following commodities, products, and services that have the potential to be developed into green, commercially sustainable enterprises:

  • Agroforestry: coffee, cacao, coconut products (virgin coconut oil, vinegar, charcoal)
  • Spices (vanilla, black pepper, nutmeg)
  • Seaweed (and down-stream products)
  • Vegetable farmers (access to credit)
  • Sago
  • Cassava
  • Sustainably harvested timber (modular houses, furniture)
  • Eco-, cultural and adventure tourism
  • Non-timber forest products (massoia, damar, akar wangi, nilam, honey, red fruit)
  • Renewable energy: micro-hydro, solar energy, biogas
  • Local transportation and logistics services to support commodity producers
  • Post-harvest processing and value-added services to support commodity
Ayu Ramanadia

Ayu Ramanadia

Project Manager

Jakarta, Indonesia

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