Pamekasan, April 13, 2019 --- The salt industry will now have a greater opportunity to develop, thanks to a new program called Penyaluran KUR (micro credit program) Garam Rakyat, the Office of the Coordinating Economic Minister’s micro credit loan scheme for salt farmers.
As part of a nationwide program to strengthen food resilience, the loan scheme was launched on April 13 at Lapangan Bunder in Pademawu district, Pamekasan regency, Madura, East Java, by Coordinating Economic Minister Darmin Nasution, East Java Governor Khofifah Indar Parawansa and Pamekasan Regent Baddrut Tamam.
BNI financial director Anggoro Eko Cahyo was also present as the host of the event, which was attended by the representatives of Himbara (a union of state-owned banks) and hundreds of salt farmers from Pamekasan and surrounding areas.
The program was inaugurated to motivate salt farmers to be optimistic in managing and developing their salt ponds without being worried about a lack of fund sources, because BNI and other national banks are ready to channel the credit through an easy mechanism.
The mechanism for this financing facility is stipulated in Office of the Coordinating Economic Minister Regulation No. 8/2018 on the guidelines for the implementation of the KUR. The policy places a greater emphasis on the financing needs of farmers, fishermen and salt farmers, especially when it comes to streamlining processes and helping them to achieve their targets.
During the launch in Pamekasan, the coordinating economic minster had the opportunity to communicate live via video conference with the recipients of the credit in five regencies. These regencies are the centers of salt production in Indonesia, namely Rembang, Indramayu, Bima, Kupang and Jeneponto.
The activities that were held during the launch involved more than 3,000 participants, consisting of salt pond farmers, religious leaders, community leaders, KUR recipients and local residents, as well as 1,000 participants in the five regencies who joined the video conference.
Darmin Nasution said his office, together with Himbara, started the movement to cooperate in developing the people’s salt industry.
Salt farmers are eligible to receive the KUR so long as they work for small businesses. "Salt farmers also deserve the KUR, which now has a lower interest rate of 7 percent," he said.
Having a partnership with Himbara also enables the government to encourage cultivation assistance and increase production with the support of micro credits, which are disbursed by the banks. It also helps to advance corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs.
Khofifah Indar Parawansa said there were 13 regencies and cities throughout East Java that had salt fields. She expected Himbara to bring in universities to help in reviving salt as “the diamond from the sea”. She also shared her hopes that the disbursement of micro credits would be able to stimulate and further accelerate “the awakening of the salt industry in East Java”.
Meanwhile, Baddrut Tamam expressed his gratitude toward the Office of the Coordinating Economic Minister and Himbara for helping salt farmers access the KUR. He thanked the minister for choosing Pamekasan salt farmers to be the recipients, because the regency is one of the main salt producers in Indonesia.
"Pamekasan will encourage all villages to develop their own potentials and be independent, including when it comes to becoming a salt-producing village. Salt production from Pamekasan grew 42 percent from the previous year. There are 170 groups of salt farmers in this regency. With this data, we hope the government will continue to help develop the salt industry here,” he said.
Anggoro Eko Cahyo said the salt sector could be used for the KUR. With Ministerial Regulation No. 8/2018, it is expected that micro credit distribution in the salt sector will be expanded beyond the five regencies, in order to ensure that the small businesses benefit from this program.
As of April 11, micro credit distribution in the salt sector brought in Rp 68.6 billion with a total of 2,358 debtors. Specifically for BNI, sector distribution brought in Rp 25.73 billion with a total of 742 debtors.
During the event, BNI provided CSR assistance in the form of pond farm stimulants, salt windmills and the restoration of salt warehouses for the salt farmers group in Pamekasan regency.
On the same occasion, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed for the utilization of banking services between BNI and the administration of Pamekasan regency. The MoU paves the way for improved and more beneficial cooperation between local government agencies and state-owned enterprises. This MoU was signed by the head of BNI for Surabaya, Mohammad Jufri, along with the Pamekasan regent.