It Takes a Village!
    Category: Column By : Hermawan Kartajaya Read : 1026 Date : Friday, June 02, 2017 - 16:26:47

    A village is the smallest component of human community, and it has lately become a primary focus for President Joko (Jokowi) Widodo. Thus, the Minister of Villages, Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigration Eko Putro Sandjojo must work hard to improve the contribution from villages towards the national economy.

    As a former president director of PT Sierad Produce, Eko does possess strong managerial skills and sharp entrepreneurial instincts. He has meticulously built a wide network, both inside and outside of the country. Thanks to him, the World Bank is seriously willing to support the ministry.

    Eko has set forth four priorities. The first is Produk Unggulan Kawasan Pedesaan (superior products from rural areas), a model similar to Thailand’s One Village One Product program. In Indonesia, this program will tackle conditions found in villages, such as inefficient production, technology unavailability and scalability issues. This program will focus on a potential product for a group of villages produce efficiently in scale. The products will be produced in collaboration with the local government and—importantly—the private sector. A pilot program in integrated cow breeding villages in Wonogiri regency has already commenced. In conducting this program, Indonesia aims to execute.

    Secondly, BUMDes, or Badan Usaha Milik Desa (village-owned enterprises), are enterprises established with the help of the central government. BUMDes aim to have villagers as their biggest shareholders, so they are effectively owned and run by the village. Through BUMDes, marketing and operational issues including financing, market penetration, capacity building, can be addressed to increase productivity and scalability. Already there are an estimated 18,446 BUMDes across Indonesia. For BUMDes not yet established, the aid will be prioritized for infrastructural purposes.

    The third priority program is the constructions of retention basins. Since many BUMDes run businesses related to agriculture, irrigation is a core area to increase productivity. When water reserves are available year round, harvests can actively occur several times a year.

    Last but not the least, the fourth program is the development of community-based sport facilities in villages. The program has two main roles, one being to move people and the other to provide spaces, which can be community centers. A healthy citizen can be more creative and healthy. These four priorities certainly require holistic support from local government and public. In addition, the minister already wants to “Go Public” for BUMDes Holdings when the time comes.

    Just imagine, if the future BUMDes are operating well, then each village will create new entrepreneurs and villages will have income. Meanwhile, with time, as village enterprises develop, the “village diaspora” might return. What vision from the ministry. Whenever we meet, the minister is always dressed like a big-company chief executive. He also never stops thinking about how to accomplish his goals. Finally, he produces not just words but actions. Indeed, it takes a village to develop a country!