Webinar Series “Managing the Remaining Forests” series#19 Learning from Forest Entrepreneurs

Webinar Series “Managing the Remaining Forests” series#19 Learning from Forest Entrepreneurs

Indonesia - 10 June, 2021

Assistance after obtaining a Social Forestry (SF) permit plays a major role in supporting the success of community businesses. "Currently, there have been so many efforts from civil institutions to assist the community to obtain SF permits, but the success of the community (conducting social forestry business) is apparently largely determined by the assistance carried out after obtaining the permit," said Edi Purwanto, Director of Tropenbos Indonesia in the webinar series #19 "Managing the Remaining Forests" held on Saturday, June 5, 2021 which raised the topic "Learning from Forest Entrepreneurs". Present as resource persons in this webinar are those who have played a significant role in strengthening institutions and market access of forest-based community businesses.

Tejo Pramono, one of the speakers, is the Founder of Kopi Ranin, a business that tries to elevate the taste of coffee and provide training for coffee farmers to have a better understanding on the values and taste of coffee. Tejo started his business with almost no program, no resources, nor the ability to build research. However, he saw business as a solution to existing problems. A number of problems that he observed related to coffee at that time were the poverty of coffee farmers in rural areas, low selling prices of products, difficult access to coffee plantations, inadequate infrastructure, low quality of human resources to carry out good agricultural practices (GAP), limited land so that they have to access forest lands, the old age of farmers and not many in number because few young people want to farm, and less agricultural graduates to get involved in farming. According to Tejo, most coffee farmers are excluded from their agricultural business. The big coffee businesses cannot provide welfare to farmers. “Lampung coffee is an espresso ingredient in Italy. But farmers in Lampung cannot imagine what the coffee business is like,” he said.

This unexplored downstream side was the idea for Tejo to establish Kopi Ranin. The idea is to elevate farmers' coffee by promoting their products. “This is intended to be a kind of ‘showroom’ for agricultural products, especially coffee. We will use products from Indonesian farmers, that's why we collaborate with farmers," he said. Tejo guarantees that all coffee in Kopi Ranin have a traceability guarantee. Now the price of coffee products from the farmers assisted by Tejo has increased by 3-4 times compared to the initial training period. Especially after the coffee farmers in Cisarua who have been facilitated by Tejo became the national champion for robusta coffee. They become increasingly convinced, coffee can provide a better life.

Apart from Tejo, another inspirational presentation came from Vinto Bustam Effendi, product designer and founder of Vinto Craft, who has successfully marketed various woven products to various countries. The key to Vinto's success in penetrating foreign markets, according to him, is that the offered products have a number of criteria, such as exclusive, high quality and unique. Vinto also reminded that the character of the target country, the lifestyle and behavior of its people are also factors that need to be taken into account. The European market, for example, likes and appreciates natural products that are not mixed with other materials such as metal or plastic. Thus, for such market he has created unique products made from natural ingredients such as wine containers made of woven bamboo or food covers made of dried banana leaves. "I even made cracker boxes of bamboo," he said.

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Some tips given by Vinto, business actors should have broad insight, good network, technology literacy, and good ethics as well as language processing. If it is a business group, at least the leader must have all of these criteria. In addition, according to him, the business actors must change their mindset so that they do not only consider their business as a sideline, but indeed a livelihood that must be taken seriously.
In order for forest resources to provide welfare for forest communities, according to Riche Rahma Delvita, Coordinator of WARSI Program, there are 6 important aspects required: certainty/legality, social solidarity, institutions, supporting infrastructure, the ability of the community to voice their rights and interests, and the development of livelihood sources. After obtaining the SF permit, according to her, at least several things need to be prepared including mapping the potentials, business institution, as well as network and market. Rieche exemplifies the success of post-licensing SF management Rantau Kemas village community with their coffee products, and economic improvement in Simancuang, Nagari Alam Pauh Duo, West Sumatra by improving the quality of their rice through organic farming.

Efforts to encourage success are indeed not carried out in a short time, but through continuous promotion, ensuring that there are local cadres who have a spirit of entrepreneurship, and encouraging these products to become superior products for local governments. WARSI also encourages the marketing of the coffee and the organic rice through a technology-based platform called “Beranda Sumatera”.

Promotion of community products is also carried out by NTFP-EP through Parara (Panen Raya Nusantara). "Parara consists of 30 consortiums that share the same vision, preserving traditions and caring for the earth, accommodating 108 producer communities to promote local wisdom and community products that are just and sustainable," said NTFP-EP Director, Jusupta Tarigan. In addition to the Parara Festival, the products are also promoted through social media and being displayed in Parara Cafe located in East Kemang, Jakarta. Innovation is also applied on the products such as pizza or cake made from cassava, biscuits or noodles from sago, or shredded bamboo shoots. Apart from food products, there are also fashion products from Parara, which target the upper class of the market and have taken part in Milan Fashion Show in Paris, France.

The presentations available for download HERE.

Check out more in-depth presentations and discussions in the webinar via the following link: