The Arfak Mountain District has high agriculture and tourism potential due to its abundant natural resources, but ironically, the local community languishes in poverty.
Poverty rates are high in mountain areas. Since these areas should also enjoy the fruits of progress, the government needs to address the problem of poverty by promoting infrastructure development, rural industrialization and other development activities.
Improving the welfare of Papua and West Papua indigenous community is on top of President Joko Widodos priorities.
Therefore, the president, better known as Jokowi, had made a commitment to visit Papua and West Papua as often as possible to review the progress of development.
In addition, the high agriculture and tourism potential, as well as abundant natural resources in the Arfak Mountains must be developed properly to improve the welfare of local community.
West Papua Provincial Government Secretary Nataniel Mandacan concedes that poverty remains a serious problem in the area, although it has massive natural resources, especially in the horticultural sector.
This sector, according to him, can be exploited by adopting modern methods of management to support poverty alleviation programs in this area.
The Arfak Mountains area is suitable for horticulture by adopting ecotourism activities, but Mandacan cautioned that any horticultural development must be undertaken carefully so as to avoid any disaster since the area is prone to landslides and floods.
He advised to adopt a modern pattern of agriculture in Arfak Mountains, and create adequate facilities for the development of ecotourism.
Mandacan argued that ecotourism holds a great potential for economic development of society in Arfak Mountain District, but it must be pursued properly to mitigate the threat of landslides and floods.
Situated in the south of the West Papua provincial city of Manokwari, the Arfak Mountains District has abundant tropical rainforests.
For several years, the tropical rainforests in the Arfak Mountains have been luring tourists from across the world who come for the endemic flora and fauna in the region.
Tourists can enjoy ecotourism activities in the Arfak mountainous area while exploring the forests for various species of tropical plants.
West Papua Governor Abraham Atururi remains committed to developing all the regions in the province. Construction is underway to improve accessibility to the district.
The Irai airport in the Arfak Mountains District has been considered feasible for development to boost tourism in the area.
Local air transportation spokesman Maryanto stated that in mid-2015, a verification team of the Ministry of Transportation had reviewed the Irai airport located in the Anggi region.
During the review, he added, the team had found that the runway of the airport could be extended in order to accommodate large-bodied aircraft, but the absence of skilled human resources to manage the airport in the area still posed a hurdle.
Therefore, Maryanto suggested to the local government to hand over the management of the airport as an asset to the Ministry of Transportation in order to be developed immediately. This would make Arfak Mountains a national tourism site.
Behind the Arfak Mountains is the scenic Lake Anggi, though not many local and foreign tourists are aware of its existence.
Indonesia is a country with several tourist sites and places of historical significance. Lake Anggi is one such.
Approximately a six-hour ride from the city of Manokwari, tourists can reach the open area surrounded by mountains with Lake Anggi located below, offering a scenic view and fresh air.
The lake is situated more than two thousand meters above sea level, and the temperature there ranges between eight and 20 degrees Celsius.
Arriving at the lake side, visitors will be amazed to find the locals leading a contented existence, gleefully oblivious to the outside world.
It is an ideal location for a family getaway to escape the boredom of the day-to-day life and avail an opportunity to indulge in various activities, such as picnics, camping, fishing, photography, or just taking strolls along the lake while enjoying the pleasant weather.
Not many outsiders know about the lake, so intensive promotion is needed to increase awareness among both local and foreign tourists.
In addition, the local government has yet to organize and construct supporting tourism facilities around Lake Anggi, a source of revenue for the locals.
Hence, it is the right time for the local government to start building tourist facilities and promoting the beauty of Lake Anggi to attract local and foreign tourists.
Until now, the lake is only visited by people residing around the area, but if it is promoted intensively, it will certainly draw several tourists and boost the local economy.(*)