Discussion on Cocoa Planting Materials with BBPPTP AmbonAmbon, April 29, 2016—In order to obtain a broader general picture and national coverage, a planting material survey conducted by one of the Cocoa Sustainability Partnership task forces, namely Agro Input and Planting Materials, held discussions with the Center for Plantation Plant Seedling and Protection (BBPPTP), Ambon, Maluku. The aim is to find out the extent of cocoa growing material in the Maluku, Central Maluku and North Maluku regions. Ms. Charlota explained that the working area for the protection of plantation crops in BBPPTP Ambon covers 10 provinces in Indonesia, including Sulawesi, and for the field of plantations, the plantations cover 2 provinces, namely Maluku and North Maluku. The working area of this large hall only covers cultivation and protection, while for post-harvest it becomes the authority of the regional government or related agency.
From the results of this discussion also obtained a picture that the potential of cocoa in the Maluku Islands is very large on the basis that the potential for large land and fertile soil conditions, but in essence its position is still inferior to the original commodity of these islands such as nutmeg, cloves, coconut, sago, and cane. In addition, after the implementation of government programs in the cocoa sector a few years ago, until now there have been no other government programs or policies implemented in Maluku.
Regarding the planting material itself, when PTPN XIV was still active in Maluku, superior cocoa clones were also being developed by combining the types of clones from PT. Mars with local clone types in Holo Village, Central Maluku. And now, the type of clones developed by farmers are local clones that existed before the Gernas Program by the government, and even those clones have existed since the time of the Dutch plantations.
The results of the Cocoa Sustainability Partnership discussion with BBPPTP Ambon raised several issues that caused cocoa commodities to become less developed in Maluku, such as (1) There is still a lack of knowledge of farmers about GAP and cocoa farmers in Maluku are not accustomed to maintaining their trees. There is a slogan in Maluku that is, "safe planting, hopefully harvesting," meaning farmers only plant cocoa and do not do maintenance and gratitude if they bear fruit and can harvest. So far, they only rely on the condition of the land and nature that are still fertile; (2) The community has many livelihood options besides cocoa farming, for example fishermen, nutmeg collectors, motorcycle taxi service providers, and so on, so that they do not depend on gardening alone; (3) The lack of sustainability of the next generation of cocoa farmers because young people rarely live in their hometowns; (4) Farmers rarely do cacao nurseries / cultivation, generally they only expect and depend on assistance from government programs; and, (5) On Seram Island there is a person named Mr. Masran Seto who is very concerned with cocoa cultivation, he developed several types of cocoa clones and has collaborated with PT. Mars.
From this discussion, Cocoa Sustainability Partnership will try to contact Mr. Masran Seto again to dig up more information about cocoa planting material in Maluku and while entering data on the type of planting material that has been obtained from Ambon's BBPPTP and while awaiting updating data from them. (CSP/AH)