Independent Smallholders Develop Tourism Destination in the Middle of Plantation

Independent Smallholders Develop Tourism Destination in the Middle of Plantation

InfoSAWIT, JAKARTA - Koperasi Desa Tani Subur (KUD), the group of smallholders having Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certificate turned unproductive swamp in the middle of palm oil plantation in District of Kotawaringin Barat, Central Kalimantan Province to be popular destination of tourism.

Chairman of KUD Tani Subur, Sutiyana told that the idea came up to turn the swamp to be fish pool for the villagers in Dusun Pangkalan Tiga. In 2016, the members of union developed dam in the river to revitalize the swamp. The dam is called Situ Berkah (Bendungan Berkah). This is the favorit spot for the children to swim.

Besides swimming pool, the complex which is now known as education agrotourism or edukasi agrowisata has pool to fish, playground, outbond course, restaurant, and hall to do big event.

According to Food and Agriculture Organization, it is important to have added value of income besides producing agriculture to protect the income of smallholders from many risks. The activity for the smallholders’ family contributes 49% for their annual income while the other income from non – agricultural sources or business, including entrepreneurship plays 30% from the gross income in every single year.

Referring to Ministry of Agriculture Indonesian Republic in 2019, the smallholders cultivated more than 5,8 million hectares or about 40% of the total palm oil plantations. KUD Tani Subur now has 1.400 members within about 1.420 hectares of palm oil plantation in total and half of the members got RSPO since 2017.

The independent smallholders and the villagers of Pangkalan Tiga helped one to another to develop education agro-tourism in 2017, starting from the fund, the plans, until the construction. The total investment spent Rp 5,6 billion (US$ 360 thousand), that KUD Tani Subur burdened, including from the replanting safe and loans from banks.

KUD Tani Subur also put aside some of the credit selling of crude palm oil which reached 1,8 billion rupiah in 2019 – only three years after they got RSPO certificate. The fund was used to nurse and expand the complex.

Edukasi agrowisata gives added values not only to KUD Tani Subur, but also the villagers around. “The villagers sell products. The visitors who want to stay in our village could also shop in micro, small, medium business (MSMB) developed by villagers themselves,” he said, as in the official statement to InfoSAWIT.

Officially inaugurated in 1 January 2018, in one year, edukasi agrowisata has become the second most popular tourism destination in District of Kotawaringin Barat. The total visitors reached 139.000 men in 2019 within annual income about Rp 2,27 billion.

“There are lots of visitors from other regions to West Kalimantan, spending 12 hours of journey to be in this spot. They knew this from social media,” developer of Edukasi Agrowisata, Dedi Firmansyah said. KUD Tani Subur uses facebook, youtube, and instagram to promote edukasi agrowisata and reached others from other districts.

Edukasi agrowisata has its unique because it is in the middle of palm oil. It lays on about 23,5 hectares, provides agricultural facilities, such as, livestock, and plantation. It has been 80% to construct. “The drivers of CPO tanks always take their wives and children here. Every kind of transportation is good to pass through here,” he said.

The swamp in the middle of palm oil plantation gives financial profits for the independent smallholders and the villagers. This increases not only the local economy but also increases the access to the district because some roads that connect the villages to the province now turn to be in asphalt which the regional government constructed. (T2)

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