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Abundant Raw Materials, Aceh Develops Furniture Industry

Banda Aceh – The abundant availability of raw materials makes Banda Aceh a very potential area to advance the furniture and handicraft industry. In fact, furniture made of wood and rattan is still a mainstay for folk crafts because the raw materials are relatively easy to find.

This was conveyed by the Assistant for General Administration of the Aceh Secretariat, Drs Kamaruddin Andalah, while reading the written remarks of the Governor of Aceh Drh Irwandi Yusuf M Sc, at the inauguration of the Regional Management Board of the Indonesian Furniture and Handicraft Industry Association (DPD-HIMKI) Aceh, at the Multipurpose Hall of the Aceh Secretariat , Thursday (26/10/2017).

“In fact, furniture made of rattan is very likely to be developed, because Aceh's rattan production is still quite a lot. Every year Aceh is able to produce up to 250,000 tons of raw rattan. Unfortunately, 75 percent of the rattan is exported to other areas, especially to Medan and Cirebon,” said Kamaruddin.

Kamaruddin believes that if most of the raw materials are processed in Aceh, it will make the area nicknamed Veranda of Mecca one of the largest centers for furniture and rattan development in Indonesia.

"If Aceh becomes one of the furniture development areas, it will certainly open up job opportunities, which will simultaneously reduce unemployment and reduce poverty," said Kamaruddin.

As is known, the unemployment rate in Aceh is quite high, more than 7 percent or the second highest in Sumatra. In fact, Aceh's poverty is the highest in Sumatra. Therefore, the Aceh government strongly supports the presence of HIMKI because this sector is growing, it will reduce unemployment and reduce poverty.

Reflecting on the potential and current conditions, the Aceh Government for the 2017-2022 period plans to develop a mission to increase people's handicraft businesses. As is known, the Government of Aceh Irwandi–Nova has a Creative Aceh Program.

“The Aceh Creative Program focuses on three main targets, namely providing local resource-based production centers oriented to the national market, providing protection for local products so that they can compete with products from outside Aceh, and stimulating the birth of potential creative industries in the service sector." said Kamaruddin.

Therefore, as a forum for the association of folk furniture and handicraft entrepreneurs, HIMKI Aceh is expected to support the success of this program. For this reason, the Aceh Government hopes that this organization can continue to be strengthened and ready to carry out programs that are in line with the Aceh Government's mission.

“As we know, the furniture and handicraft business cannot be separated from other sectors, such as trade, tourism, SMEs and so on. Therefore, we need to increase this effort in order to be able to provide a multiplier effect for the people's economic movement," added Kamaruddin.

Human, Market Reach and Facility Support

On this occasion, Kamaruddin also explained that in order to advance the furniture and handicraft business, there are at least three things that need to be shared, namely related to Human Resources, especially those related to the ability to innovate in producing creative works according to market needs.

"We see that Aceh's human resources to develop furniture craft works are still limited. The work is also still using traditional methods. Therefore, efforts are needed to increase the capacity of human resources so that the creative process can be further improved.”

The next thing that is very important to note is that the market reach is not yet wide. “Currently, the transportation system is much better than in the past, it is even connected nationally and internationally. Therefore, we need to take more optimal promotional steps and improve product quality.”

“Finally, the support and facilities for this business are still very minimal. Moreover, we know that the folk furniture and handicraft business sector is generally included in the SME category which often faces capital constraints. In this case, banking support is urgently needed to strengthen existing businesses so that these business activists can move more freely,” said Kamaruddin.

For this reason, continued Kamaruddin, the Aceh Government continues to strive to encourage various policies at the central level for people's crafts to enter Aceh, so that the steps to advance this business run massively.

"The Aceh government hopes that the people's furniture and handicraft business will be able to develop from the upstream to downstream sectors, so that raw materials from Aceh can be directly processed into finished materials."

Business Development Opportunities

On the occasion, Kamaruddin also revealed that the ASEAN Economic Community's policies would be an opportunity that must be utilized to develop businesses.

“The Aceh government will prepare a number of programs in order to advance creative economy efforts. However, by only expecting the Government's efforts, the impetus will not be effective. The role of the business world, banks and other private parties is also very much needed," said Kamaruddin.

Currently, continued Kamaruddin, the Aceh Government is waiting for a concrete plan from HIMKI Aceh to strengthen the development of furniture businesses and people's creative works in this area. "Therefore, HIMKI Aceh's move to organize seminars and sign a number of collaborations with other parties is certainly a breakthrough that we deserve to support together."

The implementation of the seminar and the MoU of cooperation is expected to be able to find solutions to various obstacles to advancing the people's furniture and handicraft business in Aceh so that the process of technology transfer and knowledge transformation to Acehnese craftsmen goes well.

"Equally important, we also hope that this business will expand to the village area, so that the gampong development program that we are promoting is further strengthened by the creative efforts of the community, so that our dream of creating independent villages in Aceh can be realized through One village One product," concluded Kamaruddin.

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