Labuan Bajo, East Nusa Tenggar (ANTARA) - A plethora of products of micro, small, and medium enterprises were showcased at the third Digital Economy Working Group (DEWG) hosted in Labuan Bajo, West Manggarai, East Nusa Tenggara, that made the G20 event livelier.

Among the myriad products on display were coffee blends from Flores Island. For coffee lovers, its exquisite taste is nothing new. Flores coffee, presented by the MSMEs, were served to delegates present at that international-scale meeting.

Agustinus Suban Puka, owner of the Florasta Barista Kopi Tuk enterprise, grinned with pride, as he had the opportunity to introduce one of the treasures of Flores to the delegates. His joy was uncontainable, as the delegates approved the aroma and flavour of his coffee.

Puka rides his motorbike daily, selling his coffee anywhere he can. He remarked that foreigners loved Flores coffee and often praised its strong flavour.

"Somebody was here and they returned. I think they got addicted," he said, thrilled by the thought, in Labuan Bajo on July 21, 2022.

Kopi Tuk is no ordinary coffee. Bits of intergenerational wisdom and modesty are coalesced along with every other ingredient into its blend. Although there are many coffee machines nowadays, kopi tuk is still made in traditional ways until now.

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The method is fairly traditional. The coffee beans are roasted and grinded with mortar, a traditional tool to grind food ingredients.

Puka said that the traditional way was what gave kopi tuk its unique flavour and made it stand out from the rest. Puka roasts the beans until he gets its iconic fragrance and flavour and boils it afterwards.

He recalled that the delegates spoke about the Florasta blend, which is a mix of Arabika Bajawa and Robusta Manggarai. The combination results in a flavour that is not overly bitter but also not very sour. Several coffee lovers have a strong liking for it.

Arabika Bajawa coffee is a type that grows in the Flores highlands, thriving at 800 to 1,200 metres above sea level. On the other hand, Robusta Manggarai grows at 300 to 1,200 metres above sea level.

The enchanting flavour is expected to draw the interest of more people. He expects that the international meeting would serve as an opportunity for him to introduce the special blend to the entire world.

At G20's exhibition of MSMEs, the Coal Tourism Village also presented yet another unique Flores coffee known as Kopi Ntala. The tourism activist group Bukit Porong introduced the blend to the delegates.

Leader of the Bukit Porong Tourism Activist Group, Rhony Sumarno, said that Kopi Ntala had three variants -- Arabika, Robusta, and ginger coffee -- and the special flavours convinced him that the coffee blends could be promoted on a global scale.

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MSMEs digitalization

Interestingly, those coffee MSMEs at that exhibition used a QR code to facilitate cashless payment. Sumarno said that the use of QRIS made it easy for guests, who carried no cash for payment.

The Indonesian G20 Presidency offers a vital momentum to improve the national digital economy. The Communication and Informatics Technology Ministry promoted the issue of digital transformation, including the digitalization of MSMEs, which had been discussed in the Digital Economy Working Group meeting.

MSMEs was one sector that had repeatedly borne the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic's unforgiving effects. They were expected to gradually grow resilient and be able to withstand the impacts through digitalization.

The ministry is making all-out efforts to support these enterprises. They are keen to support them in utilizing digital platforms through the UMKM Go Digital initiative.

According to data as of June, 9.2 million MSMEs had been integrated with the digital cyberspace since the launch of the "Proud of made in Indonesian Products" in the May-June 2022 period.

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The ministry is also keen to help MSMEs by guiding them through the UMKM Active Selling initiative. The program aims to boost technology adoption in business implementation, all the way until they could reach a wider range of the market. The program was targeted for 30 thousand MSMEs in 2022, while in 2021, the figure had reached 26 thousand.

The ministry also established the Adopt 4.0 Digital Technology for MSMEs, with the target of 70 thousand MSMEs in 2024. Its goal was to encourage implementation of the 4.0 Technology, such as QR Code and Big Data.

Other aspects worth noting include digital entrepreneurship training for MSME players through the Digital Entrepreneurship Academy under the Digital Talent Scholarship Program that will equip participants with relevant knowledge, such as the online business strategy and cybersecurity.

At the Center for Digital Society event in Labuan Bajo, which discussed about MSMEs' role for Indonesia, director general of information and communication at the Communication and Informatics Ministry Usman Kansong stated that the ministry's involvement was crucial in honing MSME players' skills in using digital technology.

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With such skills, MSME players can market their products online. It can also assist them in creating new technology or applications.

However, he believes that pursuing productive digital space utilization cannot be done alone for which the ministry needed to involve everyone, including religious figures and youths.

The digital ecosystem would indubitably benefit MSMEs. Rhony Sumarno is the living proof, demonstrating that ease of transactions would optimize transactions itself. The digitalization of MSMEs also offers more reach, as it goes beyond time and space.

The ministry should always actively foster MSMEs in the cyberspace. By doing so, domestic MSMEs, particularly in West Manggarai, can continue to grow and develop to support the national economy.

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Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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