October 23, 2015
Chairman of KTH “Jasema”, Sugiyono, carried a stack of documents. It contains loan application letters from the members of the cooperative.
In each letter listed the fund amounts to be borrowed and the signature of a husband and wife who borrowed. “So that, the husband and wife know the loan amount and not diverted,” said Sugiyono.
He said people helped by the presence of cooperatives. Enough to ensure a tree, a member can borrow up to 5 million rupiah.
After one year, the 76 million rupiah of the initial fund is sufficient for hundreds of members of the people’s forest farmers. As an administrator, he did not know where to find additional capital. “We do not know where to seek more additional capital,” he said.
When I met with the Terong village chief, Welasiman, he was busy taking care of the administration of village funds, the result of the enactment of Law No. 6/2014 on Village Fund. This year, Terong village received about 1 billion rupiah.
Unfortunately, the abundance of village fund did not affect the Jasema Cooperative. “Village fund cannot be used to help Jasema Cooperative capital,” he said.
Ministerial Decree No. 5/2015 on Determination of Village Fund Priority Use year 2015 did not mention that the village fund could be used to increase the capital of the farmer-owned cooperatives. In fact, Koperasi Tunda Tebang (cooperative to delay logging) in Terong Village gave benefit both for the welfare of farmers and the environment. Cooperatives are an important instrument in sustainable forest management, one of the requirements to get a timber legality certificate or SVLK.
However, there are ways to overcome this obstacle. In the village regulation, Article 9 point A mentions that the village fund could be used to establish and develop a village-owned enterprises. Based on that rule, it does not form a village cooperative but BUMDes engaged in the form of savings and loans. The private forest farmers become customers.
Meanwhile, for those who already have a village cooperative then can be dissolved. Existing capital can be used for BUMDes engaged in savings and loans.
Just like in the mechanisms of Koperasi Tebang Tunda, the people’s forest farmers must borrow funds with the guarantee of the trees they planted.
Director of the Institute of Research and Empowerment (IRE), Yogyakarta, Sunaji Zamroni which often deal with the issue of the village said that in principle, BUMDes should be able to carry out a social mission, public service, and economic development. “For example, BUMDes can be engaged in village tourism businesses, savings, and loan or lease the tractor,” he said.
With village funds that flowed from the center to the village each year, opportunities of BUMDes Tunda Tebang grows more open. In this institution, its business opportunities also broader, not limited to the savings and loan. One of them is working on nature tourism.
If this option can be realized, then the people’s forest farmers will be more prosperous and the environment becomes more sustainable. Bambang Muryanto