Indonesia’s Independence Day which falls on August 17 reminds us of the struggle of the heroes to achieve the independence of Indonesia. After the 350 years of colonialism of the Dutch, English, Portuguese, and Japan, 69 years ago Indonesia, represented by Ir. Sukarno, declared its independence. In the colonization era, starvation occurs everywhere, poverty is rampant, and people did not get the education and a decent life. And even there was no sense of security. The colonial countries were tempted by the natural resources of Indonesia and did all they could to take charge of this country. Based on this case, all the freedom fighters, either through physical contact or negotiation, tried to fiught for the independence of Indonesia with the hope that Indonesia would have a better life.

There are many heroes who had struggled for the independence of Indonesia, including Pangeran Diponegoro, Tuanku Imam Bonjol, Cut Nyak Dien and the proclamation fighters such as Ir.Soekarno, M. Hatta, H. Adam Malik, HOS. Cokro Aminoto etc. What we can do to appreciate all of their struggles is by realizing all of their aspirations.

Now, 69 years after the independence of Indonesia, there is still poverty everywhere in Indonesia. Economic development is only focused on the big cities. Even in Java Island, the island with the most rapid pace of development, there are still many underdeveloped regions. According to the data of Central Bureau of Statistics, there are at least eight districts in East Java, namely Pacitan, Trenggalek, Bondowoso, Situbondo, Madiun, Bangkalan, Sampang, and Pamekasan that are included in underdeveloped regions based on 6 main categories: 1) the economy of the community, 2) human resources, 3) infrastructure, 4) the ability of local financial (fiscal gap), 5) the ability of local financial (fiscal gap), and 6) the characteristics of the area.

Why did this happen? It is because the government and business owners only focus the economic development in big cities. It is very rare that all those parties give concern on the infrastructure development and business development in the small cities because they will not obtain the maximum profits. In fact, each region, even the underdeveloped one, has unique potential that, if developed, will bring the optimum benefits.

The development inequality also impact on other issues, including the growing number of TKI/TKWs (Indonesian labors). Most of the TKI/TKWs come from small towns whose development is not optimal. They choose to work abroad because they think they can have a decent job. Yet, we are all aware that the delivery of TKI/TKWs will cause new social problems, including labor abuse as well as children who have to part from their parents in long period of time.

Economic equality should be the duty and responsibility of all elements of the society, both government and business owners, in order to optimize the potential of the regions, especially those in the underdeveloped categories. The optimization of the local area will provide a lot of job opportunities and infrastructure development so as to create significant economic growth.

Harfam understand that there is always a potential that can be optimized in each region. The examples are Bondowoso and Situbondo. These two of eight underdeveloped regions have outstanding potentials in agricultural and forestry. The fertile soil conditions and the friendly climate support the optimal development of both sectors for the sake of the welfare of the society. Harfam sees this potential as a great opportunity to open Harfam Teak Plantation. This will certainly offer a lot of job opportunities for the local people.

Harfam conducts a gradual employment, which is adjusted to the field work progress and the availability of the daily labors. Broadly speaking, in one hectare of land every day, Harfam requires at least 50 people as the daily labors. Until now, there are a total of 300 daily labors, 3 supervisors, and 4 security officers with the range of wage around Rp 40,000/day. Aside from local employment, local people also earn extra income through the sales of manure. Harfam needs 15,000 liters manure per hectare per year for planting, while the need of manure for maintenance amounts to 45,000 liters per hectare/per year. With a total area of 300 hectares (and will continue growing), can you imagine how much added value the community gets from the sale of manure?

The community also benefits from intercropping system provided by Harfam. The surrounding communities are allowed to plant crops on Harfam land free of charge with 100% of the crops given to the farmers. For farmers who do not own land, this is very helpful because they can save the land rental cost which can reach Rp 5 million/year. This results in higher margin result for the farmers when they harvest the crop later.

Harfam also pays attention to the construction of rural infrastructures. Harfam contributes to the construction of village facilities, such as access roads and sports facilities for the local people to optimize the economic and social growth in the area. Harfam will also give 5% of profit-sharing from the forest harvest.

So, let’s unite to realize the goals of the independence of Indonesia to give prosperity for all Indonesian people. There must not be any poverty anymore in Indonesia. This is what we do. What about you?