As a result, the abundance of rattan causes the price of raw materials to fall, even a lot of rattan can not be sold, especially in the bags of major rattan producers such as in Kalimantan and Sulawesi.
So far, the assumption that the rattan furniture industry will expand outside Java because the pursuit of raw material prices does not occur.
Mansyur, management of the Indonesian Furniture Entrepreneurs Association (ASMINDO) Makassar, said that the rattan furniture industry will find it difficult to produce and operate outside Java.
Based on his experience, of the 4 rattan factories that had been in Makassar, two of them died and two others were forced to move to Surabaya.
According to him, although in theory, it is closer to the source of raw materials, the factor of skilled labor remains an obstacle. This is very different from the conditions in rattan craft centers on the coast of Java such as Cirebon and Surabaya.
Another thing according to him is the business risk factor. Learning from the ups and downs of the world’s demand for rattan furniture, the industry will not force itself to work on a giant scale by employing a large workforce, but will choose to work through a sub-contract partnership system.
Industries in Java would be happier and choose to subcontract some of the assembly work to the home industry around them.
By choosing the sub-contract option, when demand decreases, the industry only needs to break the order related to its sub-contractors, without having to deal with the issue of termination of employee employment. Unlike in Java, outside of Java, this cottage industry is not often found.
Sudarsono Sudomo, teaching staff of the Faculty of Forestry of IPB, criticized this “as if true” government policy. “From a number of commodity experiences in Indonesia, before there were government policy interventions, for example, Pontianak oranges or cloves in the 1990s, these commodities went well at the producer level.
However, when the government began to intervene in policies, for example through trading, this agricultural commodity then became problematic, which is now happening for rattan, “he said.
According to him, the rattan debate is more colored by common sense which is not supported by strong data.
There is no accurate information and data used to calculate the actual amount of demand for raw or semi-finished rattan by industry in Indonesia, otherwise, there is no data on the availability of raw or semi-finished rattan at the farm level.
Likewise, there is no standard price for raw or semi-finished rattan at the farm level.
The low selling price of rattan has caused farmers to be reluctant to take or cultivate rattan. Rattan is no longer considered as a source of family income, which occurs when people start looking for other alternatives in utilizing their land.
To pursue profit, the community began to convert rattan plantations into more valuable cultivation areas such as rubber plantations, oil palms, and even excavated their land to look for coal and mineral mines.
“Once the rattan garden is converted, it is certain that the place will not be able to recover. Losing not only for the rattan but also certainty for the forest loss, “said EY Yovi, a researcher from the Indonesian Rattan Foundation.
Yovi is worried that eventually, the low selling price of rattan will cause rattan to no longer be a valuable commodity in the eyes of farmers, as a closed spiral, slowly but surely the absence and scarcity of raw materials will eventually hit the industry.
“How will the rattan furniture industry in the future be able to run if there is no more supplying rattan raw materials, especially rattan gardens are no longer in the future,” said Yovi.
In response to this, another thought was conveyed by Sunoto from the Indonesian Furniture and Crafts Association (AMKRI).
He invited all parties not to dissolve in the dichotomy between the problems of upstream interests, namely producers outside Java and downstream interests in the rattan industry in Java.
He invited this issue to be handled from a national perspective and not trapped in stagnation.
This collaboration certainly must involve the regional government and also the role of the association and the private sector so that they want to step down and think about the problem of an abundance of local raw materials in the region.
Included in the strategy are encouraging industrial downstream in rattan producing areas, building rattan production innovation centers, building vocational schools in the rattan producing areas, providing incentives for industry, and encouraging policies that require the use of rattan furniture in government agencies and in schools.
Finally, it might be interesting to reflect back on what Sarwepin thought. If the government feels the need to issue regulations banning rattan exports to protect the rattan industry.