The Government in this case the Ministry of Agriculture was changing the platform of cacao development. Previously since 2009 - 2012 the Government had proclaimed the National Cacao Quality and Production Promotion Movement (Gernas Cacao) which had the objective to improve the condition of domestic cacao plantation which were pest infected or aging.
Gamal Nasir, the Director General of Plantation, Ministry of Agriculture on the occasion of the 55th Plantation Anniversary in Kendari on Monday (10/12) stated that in fact the Gernas Kakao Program which stated in 2009 had ended in 2011 with target of improving cacao plantation of 450 thousand ha. As regional demand were considerably high the movement was continued in 2009.
At the initial stage the movement included only four provinces, i.e. South Sulawesi, Southwest Sulawesi, and Central Sulawesi in the second year (2010) it developed into 14 provinces and in 2011 it included 25 provinces.
In that movement the Government was rejuvenating cacao plants with target of 80,180 ha, rehabilitation 185,935 ha and intensification of cacao plantation covering 157,033 ha. The total area of Cacao plantation included in the Gernas Cacao was only 27% of total cacao plantation expanse in Indonesia which reached 1.6 million ha.
For this program, the Government allocated total fund of Rp 3.5 trillion. In the execution, in spite of the increasing number of provinces that joined the Gernas Cacao Program, the needed budget could not be fulfilled in 3 years.
Furthermore the Government continued Gernas Cacao 2012, but up to this year, realization of budget was only Rp 3.3 trillion. The program was continued to 2013 but the Government only continued the unaccomplished part with fund of Rp 200 billion.
“So by next year we are only finishing the uncompleted task. The program only included plantation rehabilitation in cacao center provinces in Sulawesi, except North Sulawesi” Gamal Nasir remarked.
Broadly speaking the Gernas Kakao program had been effective in improving the condition of farmer-owned cacao plantations and their positive impact on production increase. Businessplayers of cacao, from the cacao industry and the regional Government were wishing that the Gernas Cacao movement be continued.
In the future, development of cocoa must be continued, although funding no longer originated from the APBN State Budget. More over the potential and opportunities in cocoa business was reasonably sizeable. “We had prepared a new program to continue the Gernas Cacao, but perhaps by other pattern with different scale and name. It was expected that in the future the Provincial Government would play greater role in supporting Gernas Cacao” Gamal was quoted as saying.
The Government admitters that from the evaluation in was unveiled that there were some challenges in the Gernas Cacao. For example, of the total rejuvenation plan only 79% were successful, whilst in the rehabilitation and intensification plan 20% were detected as being problematic.
Teguh Wahyudi, Head of the Cacao and Coffee Research Center (Puslitkoka) admitted from the evaluation of Gernas Cacao in was unveiled that there were Cacao seeds produced by Puslitloka by Somatic Embryogenesis (SE) did not grow well when rice was planted. This was because the condition of soil was not ideal while earth water was too shallow.
Therefore next year, he would produce seeds originating from farmers plantation. Hence the approach was that the seed must be in accordance with the condition of the environment. Besides, stipulation of land where the SE cacao seed was to be planted should be more selective.
“So the perception that SE cacao seed did not grow at all was not true. The World Bank even recommended cacao producing countries to adopt the Gernas Kako including the SE technology.” Gamal remarked.
Meanwhile Saleh Lasata, Deputy Govener of Southeast Sulawesi disclosed that the total area of cacao plantation in his area was 242 thousand ha. However, so far the volume improved through Gernas Cacao was only 83,133 ha or 34%. Meaning there were still 158.876 ha (66%) which were still untouched by Gernas Kakao.
The total area Cacao plantation in Southeast Sulawesi came to around 246,502 ha, plant production output posted at 162,816 tons. The total number of Cacao growers was posted at 159,074 people. “We are aware there are great challengers in cacao development, not just in terms of production but also problems in downstream industry. Therefore we are striving to improve and to strengthen economic business institutions in Indonesia” Saleh Lasta was quoted as saying.
To draw investor’s interest, particularly in cacao industry, the Provincial Government of Southeast Sulawesi built four cacao clusters, i.e. Lambidia Cluster including the Kolaka Regency with total area of 92,441 ha, the Pakue Cluster (the Regency of North Kolaka, 82,848 ha) the Lelembu Cluster (the Regency of South Konawe and Bombana, 28,585 ha) and the Besulutu Cluster (the Regency of Konawe, North Konawe, Buton Ultra and Muna 33,482 ha). “To support investors, we build facilities like were houses and infrastructure building” Saleh Lasta concluded.