Pepper farmers in West Kalimantan hope that the condition of white pepper prices will not fall and soon improve in order to remain a mainstay of their livelihoods.
Kori Adi, a farmer from Bengkayang Regency said the price of white pepper continues to decline year after year. Currently, according to him, it has touched the figure of Rp39,000 per Kilogram (Kg).
“The price now lasts from Rp38.000/Kg to Rp39.000/Kg, specifically white pepper. Black pepper [harga] Rp19.000/Kg-Rp20.000/Kg. By going down now, farmers are starting to not want to grow pepper anymore,” Kori told me, Monday (27/4/2020).
He said he had experienced the heyday of the highest pepper prices in 2015 and 2016 which reached a price of Rp150,000/kg. However, the price continues to decline and fall below Rp100,000/Kg. The highest price ever experienced by farmers from Sambas.
From the data of the West Kalimantan Plantation Office, the price of white pepper is at Rp93,000/Kg at the farmer level and Rp110,000/Kg at the merchant level in 2017. The price of white pepper that had been high in the last 3-4 years, making not a few farmers of other commodities turned to white or black pepper farmers.
The Kalbar Plantation Office recorded in 2018, pepper production was cultivated as much as 24,515 families (KK) with a total area of 10,550 hectares (Ha). They produced 5,446 tons of pepper.
Data from the Ministry of Agriculture mentions West Kalimantan is still one of the largest pepper producing provinces in Indonesia. The most pepper producers from bangka belitung island province, followed by South Sumatra, South Sulawesi, East Kalimantan, and new West Kalimantan.
On the other hand, when the commodity becomes primed, the cause of the price slump is due to surplus crops and at the same time Vietnam and Cambodia are also harvesting pepper.
“The quality of their pepper is good and guaranteed compared to the production of our [Indonesia] pepper. I sold to Jakarta yesterday for food factories and restaurants, but with the cost of Indonesian production that is inferior to other countries and this price, we are not strong,” he said.
Farmers like Kori have contributed not only to domestic needs but to the supply of overseas markets. Kori in addition to selling packaging in the form of seeds also sells powder in a number of areas such as Jakarta and several provinces on the island of Java.
Kori expects in the future there will be improvements in production costs so that the selling price of pepper from the farmer level persists in the high price range.
Ideally, he said, white pepper farmers like him only spend one production fee which averages at least Rp80,000/month, covering purchases for fertilizer and agricultural equipment needs. More than that burdens their cost burden of their production.