Jakarta (ANTARA) - Regional authorities need to involve themselves in the downstreaming of their region's main commodities to create quality work opportunities for residents, according to the Minister of Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises, Teten Masduki.

"We should focus on downstreaming that involves MSMEs (micro, small, and medium enterprises) by concentrating on domestic commodities. This way, we can improve the quality of employment," he said.

He made these remarks at a "Proud of Indonesia-Made Products National Movement and Proud to Travel in Central Kalimantan" event, which was followed online from Jakarta on Friday.

According to the minister, Indonesia is rich in handicrafts, wastra (traditional fabric art), and culinary products.

However, there is a need to enhance the quality of employment since, currently, 97 percent of jobs are provided by micro-enterprises in the informal sector with varying levels of quality, he said.

President Joko Widodo has specifically instructed the ministry to promote cooperatives-based downstreaming by involving MSME actors, he added.

Masduki mentioned that rattan is Kalimantan's main commodity that can be downstreamed. However, despite producing 10,000 tons of rattan per month, only 1,000 tons are absorbed by the furniture industry in Java.

"We should explore ways to utilize rattan in Kalimantan. Perhaps, we should attract investors here as well as create innovations for the product," he said.

Central Kalimantan could also optimize the mudfish or shark catfish commodities cultivated by locals by obtaining their extracts to meet the demand for albumin from the pharmaceutical industry, he emphasized.

Masduki expressed his hope that downstreaming commodities into finished or semi-finished products would support efforts to make Indonesia an advanced country with an income of US$12,000 per capita by 2045.

Downstreaming could also stimulate the growth of the labor-intensive industry, gradually replacing employment from low-quality micro-enterprises and the informal sector.

"We will collaborate with regions to develop industries that can create more jobs, with the involvement of our MSMEs. Thus, we are ready to become an advanced country by promoting equitable prosperity for all," the minister said.

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Translator: Kuntum Khaira R, Nabil Ihsan
Editor: Anton Santoso
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