Archive for October, 2014

Nasib Tempe di Negeri Tempe

Posted: October 29, 2014 in Uncategorized

Terbit di Koran Seputar Indonesia (SINDO), 11 September 2013

tempe

Untuk ke sekian kalinya, nasib pengusaha tempe berada di ujung tanduk. Kebangkrutan. Sejak impor besarbesaran kedelai sebagai bahan baku tempe, kabar kebangkrutan ini seolah menjadi trauma tersendiri bagi para pengusaha tempe.

Tahun 2008 silam, ratusan bahkan ribuan pengusaha tempe melakukan demonstrasi di depan Istana Negara. Hasil dari aksi tersebut dikeluarkannya skema subsidi kedelai. Langkah ini bagaikan angin segar dari Pemerintah yang berpihak kepada pengusaha tempe. Empat tahun kemudian (tahun 2012), harga kedelai impor kembali mengalami kenaikan. Para pengusaha tempe kembali mengancam menggeruduk Istana. Nasib serupa terulang lagi di tahun ini. Lemahnya nilai rupiah terhadap dolar, tentunya membuat para pengusaha tempe ketarketir.

Harga dolar beranjak naik, bahkan sempat menembus angka Rp11.000 untuk USD1, berimbas melonjaknya harga kedelai. Miris rasanya berulang kali mengetahui tempe terombang-ambing oleh kondisi ekonomi negara kita. Kebangkrutan para pengusaha tempe tentunya akan mengakibatkan hilangnya produk olahan kedelai di pasaran. Padahal sejak negara ini belum bernama Indonesia, tempe sudah menjadi menu masyarakat sehari-hari, setidaknya di Pulau Jawa. Dalam situasi seperti ini, pemerintah harusnya berani bersikap. Menggunakan skema subsidi untuk membantu menurunkan harga kedelai impor, rasanya menjadi balsam saja.

Terlihat efektif pada mulanya, namun hilang efeknya pada jangka panjang. Kebergantungan Indonesia terhadap impor kedelai harus dikurangi agar gejolak harga tempe tidak terkait dengan kondisi ekonomi. Selain itu, pemerintah harus mulai mengembangkan kemampuan produksi kedelai lokal. Potensinya sudah ada di depan mata, namun perlu keberanian dari pemerintah untuk melakukannya. Mungkin rasanya aneh jika pemerintah harus turun tangan untuk menyelesaikan masalah tempe ini.

Akan tetapi perlu diketahui bahwa panganan fermentasi kedelai ini memiliki peranan penting dalam konteks sosial masyarakat Indonesia. Tempe bisa dikatakan sebagai produk asli Indonesia dan secara tidak langsung menjadi salah satu identitas bagi Indonesia. Mengapa tempe harus tetap ada di pasaran? Pertama, tempe sudah ada sejak zaman pemerintahan Sultan Agung, sang penguasa Kerajaan Mataram, hal ini dibuktikan dengan munculnya kata tempe pada Serat Centini.

Seperti yang diungkapkan dalam buku History of Tempeh yang ditulis oleh William Shurtleff dan Akiko Aoyagi, tradisi membuat tempe di Indonesia sudah ada sejak abad ke-16 di Pulau Jawa. Jadi tidak mengherankan jika tempe menjadi bagian dari kehidupan masyarakat Jawa. Tempe merupakan salah satu bukti kecanggihan bioteknologi yang ditunjukkan oleh orangorang Jawa di masa lalu. Dahulu untuk mendapatkan jamur pengikat tempe, mereka menggunakan punggung daun waru.

Kedelai-kedelai yang telah dibersihkan dan direbus diletakkan di punggung daun waru untuk beberapa lama hingga kedelai-kedelai tersebut saling terikat. Jamur-jamur pengikat yang serupa kapas tersebut kemudian diambil dan digunakan pada kedelai dengan kuantitas yang lebih banyak. Kedua, tempe menjadi sangat Indonesia karena ragi atau jamur Rizhopus oligosporus hanya bisa aktif mengikat kedelai-kedelai menjadi tempe pada suhu sekitar 30 sampai 31 derajat Celsius. Suhu tersebut adalah suhu normal di Indonesia.

Negara lain seperti Jepang dan China (sering dianggap sebagai tempat asal-muasal tempe) akan sulit untuk mencapai suhu tersebut. Di tempat lain, diperlukan inkubator khusus untuk membuat tempe. Sedangkan di Indonesia, tempe bisa dibuat secara alami. Wajar jika China dan Jepang sering diasumsikan sebagai negara asal tempe, karena di dua negara itulah tradisi pengolahan kedelai sangat kental, seperti tahu, miso, dan kecap.

Akan tetapi, tempe sebagai sebuah produk adalah asli Indonesia yang berasal dari local wisdom masyarakat Jawa. Ketiga, seperti diungkapkan oleh William Shurtleff dan Akiko Aoyagi, tempe sudah menarik perhatian dunia sejak Belanda menguasai tanah Nusantara. Ketika itu, peneliti dari Belanda datang ke Indonesia untuk meneliti tentang tempe. Karena pada masa itu banyak orang Indonesia pergi dan menetap di Belanda, dibangunlah pabrik tempe pertama di sana.

Dari pabrik itulah, tempe kemudian menjadi dikenal di Eropa dengan nama tempeh (mereka menambahkan ‘h’ agar tetap terbaca tempe). Di Inggris sempat dibangun pabrik tempe pada 1970-an, begitu pula di Jerman dan di beberapa wilayah lain. Selanjutnya pada masa kekuasaan Jepang di Indonesia, ketertarikan terhadap tempe justru semakin terbangun.

Selain Jepang, di Amerika tempe justru mendapatkan tempat di antara makanan sehat yang lain. Keempat, bagi orang Indonesia yang tinggal di luar negeri, tempe masih menjadi bahan makanan yang dicari. Di London, salah satu warung penjual penganan Indonesia mengaku menjual ratusan tempe setiap minggunya. Hal ini menunjukkan bahwa rasa kangen terhadap tempe akan terus ada. Bagi mereka, tempe bisa menjadi cara untuk mengingat kampung halaman atau mengingat kembali akar tempat mereka berasal.

Secara tidak sadar, rasa tempe yang khas bisa menjadi penanda identitas bagi masyarakat Indonesia di luar negeri. Memori mereka terhadap tempe justru mampu mempertahankan rasa nasionalisme mereka, meskipun berada ribuan kilometer dari Nusantara. Selain melalui simbol-simbol negara, identitas juga bisa didapatkan dari ingatan dan memori terhadap kampung halaman, terhadap tempat seseorang berasal. Tempe bisa menjadi penanda identitas melalui rasa yang terbentuk di lidah masyarakat Indonesia.

Mereka boleh saja menetap di belahan dunia yang berbeda dan menikmati hidangan lokal negara setempat, akan tetapi rasa yang sudah terbentuk bertahun-tahun itu akan tetap ada. Jika rasa itu kembali dikenali oleh lidah, hal tersebut akan mampu memunculkan kembali memori tentang tempat dia berasal. Bagi sebagian besar orang yang berada di luar negeri tempe goreng yang sangat sederhana dengan bumbu bawang putih, merica, dan garam justru mampu mengingatkan masa kecil mereka di Indonesia.

Melihat empat fakta tersebut akankah kita rela jika tempe harus hilang dari pasaran karena harga kedelai yang selangit? Sudah saatnya bagi pemerintah Indonesia untuk kembali melihat produksi kedelai lokal. Sejarah sudah membuktikan bahwa kita mampu membuat tempe dengan kedelai lokal yang dikembangkan oleh masyarakat.

Selain upaya dari pemerintah, sebagai konsumen harus mulai mengapresiasi dan membeli tempe berasal dari kedelai lokal agar industri ini dapat berkembang dan mandiri. ●

Rosyid Nurul Hakiim  ;    Penerima Beasiswa Chevening 2011-2012 dengan Tesis: Tempe dan Identitas Nasional Indonesia Jurusan Media and Communication, Brunel University, London, Inggris

Published on Jakarta Globe 16 October 2014

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Do we really concern ourselves with how the rice has ended up on our plate and how it began the journey?  Food is not just to satisfy our hunger, it is also a window to consider the situation of food availability and the condition of Indonesian family farmers.

The celebration of World Food Day today is our reminder to give our attention to the farmer. This group plays a significant role in supporting our daily needs.

However, data from the Central Bureau of Statistic (BPS) shows that the numbers of family farmers in Indonesia is decreasing significantly over the past decade. The country lost more than five million family farmers. Since 2003 the number of family farmers has dropped to only 26.13 million. One of the major factors of farmers leaving the industry is reduced return on their labor.

The agricultural census held by BPS in 2013 found that the average family farmer earns only around Rp 1 million ($80) per month. Their earning is not worth to the risk they bear. There is no support provided for any loss of crop due to pests or extreme weather conditions.

Prof. Dr. Dwi Andreas Santoso from the Bogor Agricultural Institute (IPB) has previously said that more than 50 percent of the 28.55 million poor in Indonesia are family farmers.

Families often lose access to land as it is rare for them to own it. Almost 50 percent of farmers in Java do not have land and rent instead.

The agriculture sector is seen as less lucrative than in the past and struggles to replace farmers exiting the workforce.

The future of the industry becomes a concern when considering the projected growth in Indonesia’s population. The BPS suggests the population will grow up to 273 million in 2025.

Fasli Jalal, chairperson of the National Population and Family Planning Board (BKKBN) says 10,000 babies are born each day in Indonesia, which presents serious questions about food security.

It is a tough job ahead to regain the pride of being a farmer, but it’s necessary to increase the amount of family farmers to help food supply to the country.

This is our call to give the group genuine appreciation.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on World Food Day has chosen the theme Family Farming: “Feeding the World, Caring for the Earth.” The organization invites all elements of society to take serious care of family farmers.

The vulnerable group work hard to contribute to the food supply of the world, yet they are hungry themselves. The FAO noted that over 70 percent of people in rural areas of Asia. Latin America, Africa, and the near East, many of which are family farmers, are still insecure in terms of food.

Therefore, it is our job to support the needs of family farmers. Community development is important to secure their productivity and to transfer simple technology to support their cultivation.

Through that strategy, we hope that it will increase their earnings or at least show them that they are not alone.

For example the Indonesian Biodiversity Foundation (Kehati), in Semau, East Nusa Tenggara, in cooperation with other institutions, taught family farmers the drip irrigation technique.

The farmers had good spirits and keep trying to cultivate even though they are living in very dry area. The community development through learning dripping irrigation technique helped them increase their productivity.

Another example is in Yogyakarta. Kehati encouraged local farmers to again begin cultivating their food source, which is similar to tuber plants.

The foundation developed the program by giving them the capability to add value to their agriculture product through methods such as processing to produce tuber chips or in the packaging aspect.

Through this community development work, it gave the farmer opportunity to earn more.

Rosyid Nurul Hakiim is a communication officer at KEHATI

Published in Jakarta Globe, October 2, 2014

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Before dawn last Friday, Indonesia experienced an incredible shock. The House of Representatives decided to pass a bill abolishing the direct elections of governors, district heads and mayors, and giving local legislatures the power to appoint regional leaders.

The move ignited popular unrest, with citizens taking to Twitter, Facebook and even the streets to demand a judicial review of the bill by the Constitutional Court. Many other reactions responded to the reality that the people has lost their right to vote.

Then a second blow came on Wednesday, when the Constitutional Court rejected a judicial review of the law on legislative bodies, known as the MD3 law, submitted by Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, or PDI-P. That means the PDI-P’s attempt to secure the House speaker’s seat remains shaky, because according to the decision of the court the next leader of the House will be elected by legislators, and not appointed by the party that won the most votes at the legislative election, as was the practice previously. This new condition will favor the opposition, which dominates the new House and has the chance to secure the seat.

From that recent development, it shows that politics is purely for the interests of certain group. These developments will tend to jeopardize the incoming administration of President-elect Joko Widodo, nominated by the PDI-P. The maneuvering by the opposition shows clearly that they will go head-to-head against the new president and his party, and that they have enough power to counter all government policies.

However, even though the opposition and the next government will be at loggerheads, thereby stalling the passage of key policies, it is important for the new House, as the legislative branch, and the new government, as the executive branch, to have common ground on the issue of biodiversity conservation. They have to make peace on that issue and walk side by side to support policies for biodiversity conservation and use, because at stake is the country and its people. Any mistakes in passing legislation or regulations will directly affect the people.

We have to realize that biodiversity is very important to human life. The loss of any bit of biodiversity will disrupt the balance of life on Earth.

Endang Sukara, a professor at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences, or LIPI, has noted that 70 million years ago the rate of species extinction was just one every 1,000 years; from 1600 to 1900 it was one every four years; from 1900 to 1980 we lost one species every year; and after the year 2000 the world was losing an entire species every day.

The United Nations Environment Program has similarly estimated that species are disappearing at 50 times the natural rate. Some 34,000 plant and 5,200 animal species currently face extinction.

Facing these disturbing numbers, Indonesia, as a country with immense biodiversity, should take action to prevent biodiversity loss. Moreover, Indonesia will enter the Asean Economic Community next year, with its attendant increase in demand on natural resources, so biodiversity management it will require extra caution.

We have a lot of potential in that aspect, but the wrong strategy will benefit other countries. Therefore, political will and action from the government and the House are urgent. Judicious policies regarding biodiversity preservation and use will lead to our nation prospering. The legislative and executive should get along well to produce proper policies to convert the potential from biodiversity use into something that can benefit the nation.

For example, in the context of realizing food sovereignty, data from the 2013 agricultural census show a shrinking number of Indonesians employed in farming. Between 2003 and 2013, at least five million households gave up farming, leaving just 26 million farming households as of 2013.

That diminishing number will significantly affect the food supply, and the effect will be amplified by the a projected boom in the total population of the country, from 238 million in 2010 to 305 million in 2035.

If the number of farmers goes into free fall and the population continues to swell, Indonesia will face a food crisis. One of the keys to national prosperity is ensuring a sufficient food supply. Therefore the need to use biodiversity to tackle this challenge is pressing.

One of the important keys to realizing biodiversity use for national prosperity is local communities. They are the element who benefit directly from the proper management of biodiversity use. Strong local communities will lead to a strong nation. Training and mentoring about biodiversity use management will give added value in biodiversity products, and that will have an economic impact.

One example of how local communities are capable of developing a strategy to use biodiversity potential for their needs is the local biodiversity park of Gumi Banten in Renon village in Denpasar, Bali.

The Indonesian Biodiversity Foundation, or Kehati, worked with the Denpasar administration and Udayana University to develop a biodiversity park to conserve a variety of local plants and exotic flowers, including 12 varieties of coconuts, 10 species of bamboo, and 12 varieties of bananas. Those plants and flowers are important to Hindu ceremonies. Thanks to the park, the people in Renon no longer have to import flowers or plants from elsewhere; they have a sustainable solution to meet their needs.

The biodiversity park in Gumi Banten is only a small example, and Indonesia has very big potential for biodiversity use for national prosperity. However, without serious commitment from the legislative and executive it is impossible to turn that potential into reality. Every effort by local communities for biodiversity conservation and use needs support and legal certainty to achieve a significant impact for national prosperity. Therefore, the legislative and the executive should walk together in producing policies that favor biodiversity conservation and use, so that in the long run the nation will prosper.

Rosyid Nurul Hakiim is the communications officer of the Indonesian Biodiversity Foundation