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Indonesia - 23 March, 2022
On 22 February 2022, a major step forward was taken in Ketapang, West Kalimantan, that allowed local climate-friendly and community-based enterprises to show their products to policy makers and potential investors and customers. And importantly, these producers of handicrafts, organic fertilizers, fruits, vegetables and mushrooms - winners of a new business competition - also shared what they need to expand.
Rural enterprises are often not aware of the positive impacts they have on the environment, though many already incorporate sustainable management of forests and natural resources into what they do. But as their businesses are small scale, they find it difficult to access loans or other private financial support, and limited management skills hamper their development.
In 2021, as part of the Mobilizing More for Climate (MoMo4C) programme, Tropenbos Indonesia began what will become a series of climate friendly and community-based business competitions -called by the acronym KURRI in Bahasa. The aim is to get a clearer view of the range of local businesses that help to improve the environment, and then to support selected ones through enterprise skills training, and by linking them to financial service providers and new markets. Lessons are also being learned with a parallel process of business competitions organized under the MoMo4C programme in Ghana.
In the first round of the competition in 2021, a ‘call’ was released in February that led to pre-selection of 14 potential community business applicants, who received intensive technical training so that each could develop a business plan. Then, five ‘finalists’ with the most promising plans were chosen in June 2021 by an expert panel including government agencies, local financial institutions, NGOs and local business champions. Finalists were then provided with support packages until the end of 2021 to implement their business plans, with further technical assistance, tools and materials, and linking them to other relevant stakeholders including financial service providers.
Then a year after the call, the finalists joined an exhibition where they displayed their wares and there was rich and open conversation between all levels – like a true market day in fact! Local government officials and potential investors saw and could buy the products, and heard about the progress made in the last few months of KURRI training. For example, a horticulture business from Simpang Dua had already received finance from a credit union, while others had successfully increased production capacity, acquired new market opportunities, and improved their financial management skills.
An intensive dialogue session also followed between participants, local government and financial institutions as to how to most effectively share, learn and replicate best practices. The Regent of Ketapang, Martin Rantan, in his opening and closing speeches encouraged government agencies to adopt and replicate ‘the KURRI approach’ in their economic and environment programmes.
Tropenbos Indonesia will continue to support 2021 KURRI participants, monitor progress and impacts, and strengthen this growing network that can inspire other community businesses and attract more participants in the future. Further district level competitions will be run in 2022 to find more established businesses with positive impacts on climate change adaptation, in addition to the micro-business category for small scale enterprises. And more villages will be involved, thanks to financial support from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry and UNDP’s KALFOR project.
As Tropenbos Indonesia Director Dr Edi Purwanto summed up: "We hope that the efforts we make through KURRI competitions and farmer field schools can inspire the emergence of local movements for adaptive community efforts against the threat of climate change, not only in the agricultural sector but also in small enterprises in the whole of Ketapang district".
Read more: Celebrating Business Meeting Day and Farmers Field Day: Efforts to maintain climate resilience in Ketapang District, West Kalimantan Province - Tropenbos Indonesia (tropenbos-indonesia.org)