Commemorating Decky Rumaropen, a Driver of Papuan Economic Independence – If it comes to organic cocoa from Papua, Decky Rumaropen’s name necessarily is a person who is credited with making this happen. On July 26, the Director of the Village Community Development Foundation passed away at the Provita Jayapura Hospital due to illness at the age of 63 years. Decky is also one of the founders of the Non-Governmental Organization Cooperation Forum (Foker LSM).

He joined YPMD in 1988, after completing his education at the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences (Fisip) at Cenderawasih University, Jayapura.

YPMD, the organization he last led, has a long track record in the civil society movement in Papua. Quoted from Jubi, YPMD was founded on December 8, 1984. One of the founders and the first director was George Junus Aditjondro.

The organization’s well-known programs at that time included the publication of the News from the Village (KdK) bulletin, the environmental health program through the construction of clean water facilities in the villages, and the development of village communities through populist economic programs.

Having worked for the Rumsram Foundation in 1990-1997, Decky finally returned to YPMD in 1998 and became a director. There, she has managed women’s programs, village cooperatives, clean water projects, and ecotourism.

During his leadership, YPMD’s work was well known for developing the people’s economy through the organic cocoa trade. Cocoa marketing system with the concept of people to people trade.

Through this concept, farmers and consumers have a mutually beneficial relationship and are separated from conventional trade chains that often harm farmers. This concept began to emerge since YPMD joined The Asian People’s Fund for Mutual Benefit (APF) network.

“Decky Rumaropen played a role in developing this concept in Papua and promoting Papua,” said Patricia Makabori, from YPMD on July 26. at the Jayapura YPMD Office, where Decky’s body is buried.

That day, around the YPMD Office, rows of wreaths of condolences were seen from various civil society organizations, including those working on environmental issues and indigenous peoples in Papua.

In 2009, the APF network began to commit to buying organic ingredients from Papua. At that time, YPMD’s role was to start preparing farmers who were generally from YPMD’s working areas.

A business unit called CV Kakao Kita was established to manage this cocoa trade.

Since 2012, these organic cocoas have been shipped to Japan. Jayapura residents can also taste the farmers’ cocoa since there is a chocolate cafe in Jayapura. The cafe is called “Kakao Kita Papua” next to the YPMD office in Kotaraja, Jayapura.

From the journal Rural development in Papua: lessons learned from cocoa farming, it is stated that there are several important practices from the concept of trade between people. There are regular meetings of cocoa farmers and consumers from Japan in the farmers’ villages. At the meeting, consumers appreciated the processing technique if it was organic. Farmers also respect and maintain responsibility by continuing to manage nature sustainably.

The cocoa purchasing process is also transparent and without intermediaries. Every month Kakao Kita staff and representatives from Japan come to farmers to buy their crops. Farmers can see firsthand how to determine the quality and quantity of their cocoa. In addition, monthly reports sent to Japan are also submitted to farmer groups. This is what makes this trading system last for more than 10 years.

YPMD also analyzes the social situation of farmers. One of them is gender inequality in the use of cocoa agricultural products. From the results of this analysis, a proposal for a savings program for farmers emerged, which was welcomed by women’s farmer groups.

Farmers’ savings were proposed in 2014 in collaboration with Bank BPR Phidectama Jayapura. Some of the money from the sale of farmers is saved for school fees and other business capital. Decky Rumaropen, always emphasizes that YPMD’s work is beneficial for change in society. “The change must come from within the community itself based on the experience of interacting with YPMD.

One of Decky’s dreams that has yet to come true is to make Biak a shelter for cocoa from various regions in Papua to be sent to Japan.

Decky is also diligent in assisting indigenous Papuan people. Naomi Marsian, Director of the Limited Association for the Study and Empowerment of Indigenous Peoples (PT-PPMA) Papua, recognizes Decky as a role model in assisting and organizing work for indigenous peoples in Papua.

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