Indonesian economic growth is projected to suffer a potential contraction due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of the affected in the economic sector is the rubber business with increasingly falling prices, especially at the farmer level.
As it felt by rubber farmers in Kalahiang Village, Balangan District, South Kalimantan, the current rubber price in collectors is only around Rp4,000 – 4,500 per kg, down almost40 percent from the previous Rp6,500 – Rp7,200 per kg.
But in the midst of these problems, the rubber business run by the Sungai Kihung Lestari (SKL) Cooperative continues to reap a profit.
The cooperative, which is fostered by the Adaro Bangun Negeri Foundation (YABN), has a special strategy in dealing with this difficult situation by strengthening relation with rubber farmers and increasing network with various parties, such as Agriculture Office and rubber factories.
By prioritizing the quality of rubber, the cooperative relationship between SKL and the factory continues to this day.
Read also: YABN fostered farmers succeeded in cultivating superior rubber
SKL as an extension of farmers is able to provide a higher price than collectors, which is Rp5,300 to Rp5,500 per kg. This made farmers more interested in selling their rubber to the cooperative, thus the rubber stock in SKL increase to be sold to factories.
Until now the increase of farmers who sell their rubber to the cooperative reaches 60 percent. “First there were only about 17, but after COVID-19 the number of farmers selling rubber to cooperative increased to 27," said Chairman of the Balangan SKL Cooperative Arsyad.
The cooperative was overwhelmed by the large number of farmers selling rubber outside working hours. However, it does not make SKL forget the government's call to implement health protocol.
The business strategy applied by the SKL received appreciation from Zulfa Anita as an escort from YABN.
“We are also proud of the achievements obtained by the SKL today, keep moving forward, take advantage of all the potential and improve the network so that the SKL continues to survive and grow," said Zulfa.
Read also: YABN, Tanta leaders plant trees to restrain erosion
Read also: YABN helps farmers develop organic farming