Working with the community to grow coconut tree business in Indonesia
Due to the abundance and ubiquity of coconut trees and plantations in Indonesia, there are potentially enormous social and commercial benefits that can be gained from integrating local communities in the production of high value coconut-based products. Indonesia has about 3.7 million hectare of coconut plantations of which 96% are categorized as community plantations while the rest are owned by the private sector and the government. CV Pusat Penelitian Kelapa Terpadu (Center for Integrated Coconut Research – PPKT) is a medium-sized company based in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, founded in 2004 to develop and commercialize coconut-based products, while at the same time empowering local communities through integrating local communities’ business activities into the company’s processes.
The company provides training and technical assistance to rural community groups that usually rely only on rice and/or vegetable planting for their livelihood in processing coconuts into high value added products. In essence, PPKT provides these communities with an opportunity to earn additional income by turning them into the company’s production facilities. PPKT produces and sells products such as cooking oil, virgin coconut oil, liquid smoke and cosmetics. In addition, the company also produces ‘E-stove’ that uses ethanol as fuel, sells coconut-processing equipment, and conducts public training on processing coconuts into high value added products. PPKT works with about 140 community groups, helping them to organize and manage themselves into a joint business unit, and it benefits about 14,000 people. The company broke-even in 2008 and had total revenues of about US$60,000 a year later.