Ratna Djoko Suyanto, Chairman II of the Solidarity of Wives of Members of Indonesian Cabinet (SIKIB), launched Palm Sugar Production House called Mbok Tani at Hargotirto Prosperous Village in Kokap, Kulonprogo regency on Saturday (18/2). The Palm Sugar Production House is the result of the development of the UGM Institute for Research and Community Service (LPPM) in collaboration with SIKIB. Community Sanitation program (Sanismas) with the construction of sanitation facilities is also launched.
"The presence of Palm Sugar Production House is expected to increase the production of palm sugar, thus it can improve public welfare of Hargotirto community," she explained.
The cooperation program in the development of palm sugar industry or powder sugar is conducted in order to empower the community toward a prosperous community. The availability of Palm Sugar Production House it is expected to meet the national needs of sugar. Development is done by providing production equipment and utensils.
"This production tool which is an aid from the President will hopefully give benefit," she said.
Ratna said that there have been considerable changes in the Hargotirto Village since it was inaugurated as a Prosperous Village in 2010. The changes could not be separated from the role of UGM and local governments of Kulonprogo in developing Hargotirto community. "UGM efforts in pioneering the community care movement through KKN PPM has become a national inspiration which has been adopted by all campuses in Indonesia," she said.
Chairman of LPPM, Prof. Dr. Ir. Danang Parikesit., M.Sc., expressed similarly that there have been many changes in Hargotiro community both in way of thinking and their spirit. Consequently, LPPM will begin to slowly release the facilitation that has been given.
"This success could not be separated from the incredible community spirit. Without the enthusiasm of the people here, UGM will not be able to encourage, empower, and make the community independent. This spirit should be transmitted to other villages," he said.
According to Danang, the development of a successful community is achieved if the empowerment program is carried out with regard to the potential of each area. It is important for universities to know with certainty the potential possessed by the community so that what is developed is in accordance with the potential of each region.
Kulonprogo Regent, dr. Hasto Wardoyo, Sp.OG., expressed his gratitude for the development of palm sugar industry with the establishment of production house and manufacturing production equipment. He hopes that this development could bring greater benefits for the improvement of morale and motivation of Kulonprogo’s community and governments in developing the region.
The Kokap district, including Hargotirto village, is an area that has quite large resource of palm tree. In this village there are 70 groups of sugar tappers with the number of palm trees as many as 16.815 trees. "We are very grateful for the inauguration of this production house, we hope that it will improve the welfare of the community because, mostly, sugar tappers community is underprivileged," he explained.
In the meantime, LPPM Community Services Manager, Adi Wibowo, S.T, said the development of palm sugar to cope with the low production of sugar is because the processing is still mainly done conventionally, particularly on the coagulation, crystallization, and drying process. Processing is done manually using a batch system and the capacity of each batch is relatively low.
"Application of the modern palm sugar processing technology are needed to increase capacity, hygiene, and continuity, thus the processing unit of palm sugar is made with a continuous process and equipment using food grade stainless steel," he explained.
Adi explained that so far palm-sugar makers were still using traditional tools, not yet using the stainless steel, so product’s hygiene has not been maintained. Besides, manual processing is also inefficient, because it requires much labor and is time-consuming.
In conventional processing, to process 15-20 liters of palm sap which will produce 3.5 kg of palm sugar takes 6-8 hours. While the process using the equipment only takes 2-4 hours for 105-120 liters of palm sap to make 17.5 to 20 kg of palm sugar.
"The use of this equipment can also increase production capacity. A single production produced about 20 kg of palm sugar, while using manual processes in a single production will be generated only 1 kg of palm sugar," he explained.
Adi added that processing using the equipment can also save energy and costs. To process 80 kg of palm sugar with manual method requires 2 cubic meters of firewood costing 140,000, whereas process using the equipment only requires energy at a cost of Rp100,000.
Rumini (35) from Orchid Farmer Group was pleased with the launching of the production house. She really hoped that the production equipment can increase the production capacity of farmer groups in Hargotirto region.
Rumini said that using conventional process so far can only generate about 3 kilo grams per day. "If usually we are only able to produce about 3kg of powder sugar every day, with the equipment available today, hopefully the production can be increased," she said happily.
In addition, Rumini hoped that the use of equipment could increase the selling price of palm sugar. Usually, she buys palm sugar from farmers for Rp12,000 per kilo gram. "Through this process the result may have more quality, thus it is able to raise the selling prices," she said.
Biyantoro (52) of Aneka Karya Tani group said similarly. Biyantoro welcomed the establishment of production house. The presence of such processing equipment can also help preserve the environment. "During this time, to process the palm sap into palm sugar, people use firewood. The presence of this equipment, hopefully, can reduce logging and the use of wood, so the environment will stay sustainable," he said.