Recollecting the Muting Coffee in the Land of the Ex-Transmigration of Merauke

goodmorningpapua.com – Heavy rain that flushed a Seet Agung Village, Muting District, Merauke Regency, Papua on Friday, March 18, 2022, did not make Mbah Misem leave the fields. Caping [headgear], a medium-sized basket, and a machete have remained to attach to herself. This 74-year-old woman went to the field without being accompanied by Mbah Pon, her husband who died from illness 7 years ago.

Mbah Misem lives alone in a small house made of planks. Though without being accompanied by her husband in enjoying the old days, Mbah Misem’s face is still fresh, she looks like a hardworking woman. Plantation land as a place to earn a living is not far from her house. Even though she was struggling with the rain and the plantations were a bit muddy, it didn’t make Mbah Misem discouraged.

Her eyes were a little bit wildly observing every branch and coffee fruit that looked worn. Her right hand holds a machete while occasionally slashing tree branches that are starting to dry. Mbah Misem is one of the coffee farmers in Seet Agung Village. She is also one of the ex-transmigration resident inhabiting the border area of ‚Äč‚ÄčIndonesia and Papua New Guinea (PNG). Farming coffee is now her choice to fill her old age and loneliness.

Hundreds of coffee trees growing on half a hectare of land are not new coffee plantations, but coffee plantations that have existed for decades. The coffee plantation started when Mbah Misem and her husband were placed as transmigration residents at that time.

Mbah Misem told the story that she and her husband left their homeland of Lampung in 1993 to join the Transmigration Program during the era of President Soeharto. At that time Mbah Misem had prepared coffee beans from Lampung for a new life in the land of Irian Jaya (Papua).

Before her husband died, Mbah Misem admitted that she received a message from her husband not to cut down hundreds of coffee trees, in spite of they had no value in the market. This message is followed, because her husband believes the coffee tree is useful for many people.

Mbah Misem’s husband’s message turned out to be good luck. The forerunner to the birth of coffee in Muting came from the Coffee Tree planted by her husband. “Almost all coffee plantations in Muting take seeds from here, so it’s not surprising that currently there are many coffee farmers in Muting,” said Mbah Misem.

In the past, almost all residents in Muting had coffee plantations. But then the residents left the coffee plantations. That’s because the condition of the road from Merauke to Muting at that time was badly damaged. It took days of blood travel to reach Merauke City, and vice versa. This condition causes the coffee beans that have been processed by the community to be worthless, as a result, many coffee lands are turned into rubber plantations.

In addition to many coffee fields replacing functions, at that time many residents of Seet Agung Village also returned to their villages or moved to Merauke City, due to the worsening economic conditions.

The reduced population at that time, said I Nengah, was taken advantage of by the existing population. Some of the coffee fields at that time were converted into rubber plantations. This condition, continued I Nengah, did not last long, the residents of Kampung Seet Agung began to leave rubber because it had no value. “(At that time) rubber no longer had a price, so we returned to coffee farming,” said I Nengah.

Muting coffee is now acceptable to Merauke coffee connoisseurs. This is inseparable from the role of a police officer with the rank of Aipda. Yes, Aipda Jasman Tristanto is a member of the Bhabinkamtibmas Muting Police, Merauke District Police.

Since being transfered to work in 2020, Aipda Jasman has seen the potential of coffee in Muting. Aipda Jasman then aroused the enthusiasm of the residents in Seet Agung Village to return to planting coffee.

Enthusiasm and hard work assisting people market coffee beans have made Muting Coffee accepted by coffee enthusiasts. Not only that, this local coffee is able to penetrate the international market.

The image of Kopi Muting has encouraged people to start growing coffee in droves. Even now it has formed five farmer groups with one group consisting of 25 people. To realize the coffee plantation, his party also asked for help from the Muting Police Bhabinkamtibmas.

Jasman explained that Muting Coffee already has its own market share for foreigners. Even Muting Coffee has penetrated the European market.

Jasman also expressed his joy because recently, Muting Coffee has gained a place among national coffee lovers. Even Muting Coffee participated in the National Coffee Festival in Jakarta. Currently, Jasman added, the price of coffee beans at the farm level reaches IDR 35.000 per kilogram. This purchase price may increase at any time if orders continue to increase.  Muting Coffee’s success in taking attention in the national market is apparently inseparable from the hard work of a Bhabinkamtibmas named Aipda Jasman and a resident of Seet Agung Village.

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