Soemarno stated that the interest of the local people in coffee development was not high as the farmers still used traditional coffee processing system.
"All this time, people used to peel coffee beans manually, which enabled them to produce only one kilogram of coffee in two days. Now, (after the machine) has been distributed, people could produce 100 kilograms in one day, thereby increasing the production," she explained.
In addition to providing coffee processing machines, the minister symbolically handed a unit of four-wheeled type of Hilux, which is expected to enable the sale of coffee to the city.
"This vehicle is provided to encourage young entrepreneurs to start transportation business, because one of the problems faced by coffee farmers is distribution. Farmers have no profit due to the (high) transportation costs. Therefore, this car will help in the sale of coffee in future," she asserted.
Meanwhile, Soemarno flew to Papua on Sunday (Nov 19) to observe the economic equality development programs in Papua.
She will review the result of the efforts to curb basic commodity prices for residents living in the frontier, outermost, and remote regions in the easternmost province.
Based on her schedule, received by Antara from the Government of Jayawijaya District, Papua, on Sunday afternoon, Soemarno will visit three districts, namely Puncak Jaya, Jayawijaya, and Pegunungan Bintang.
"On Nov 20, the SOE minister will have a dialogue with two groups of farmers and post-harvest coffee participants from the Yagara District and Wolo District. She will also review the cement price-lowering program and hold a dialogue with the community," Head of Public Relations Affairs of the Jayawijaya Regional Government, Meitty W Nahuway, revealed on Sunday.
Soemarno is scheduled to review the coffee garden and hand over an Arabica coffee peeler and dryer for coffee farmers in Jayawijaya District. Before heading to Jayawijaya, on the first day, Nahuway noted that the minister was scheduled to visit Oksibil, the capital of Pegunungan Bintang District, to inspect the premium and diesel oil distributors (APMS) to assure the implementation of the single-fuel price program.
Soemarno, along with the Puncak Jaya community, is also slated to declare the pride-to-consume-Papua-coffee slogan "banggamenyedkopkopipapua." On the occasion, she will hand over assistance to the local people, review the price cuts of basic goods by the Inflation Control Agency (PPI), and check the equalization of cement price by PT Semen Indonesia.
Before returning to Jayapura, on Nov 21, the minister will review the implementation of the branchless-banking system by Bank Mandiri in Puncak Jaya District at around 11:30 local time.
Last August, the minister, during her working visit to Jayawijaya, invited local farmers to increase the number of Arabica coffee production to improve their income.
During the discussion with coffee farmers at the time, she found that the obstacle faced by farmers was the problem of marketing.
"One of the problems is that the cost of transport to the city is expensive. Therefore, we are looking at ways to improve Jayawijaya community," she pointed out.