Understanding Papua 4 (Economy)

Similar to the situation in other parts of Indonesia, the people of Papua depend on agriculture for their income, especially farms and plantations. Agricultural commodities in Papua include cocoa, palm oil, sago, corn, soybeans, tuber roots and rice. Other crops often cultivated by Papuan people include forestry products like timber, sandalwood, eaglewood and rattan. In terms of fish and other marine resources, Papua’s resources are plentiful; much of its marine industry is orientated towards export, including tuna, crabs, sea cucumbers, pearls and aquarium fish.
In the energy and mining sector, Papua has large potential reserves of gold, copper, natural gas and oil. The extraction of these resources in Papua is usually undertaken by large-scale operations, for example PT Freeport for gold mining and British Petroleum for gas and oil.
Overall, Papua is still a raw materials and commodities supplier. The processing industry in Papua is underdeveloped because of the lack of supporting infrastructure, which means greater production costs are incurred by investors. This situation has led to economic growth in Papua which is not representative of its true potential; the prosperity of the Papuan people has not increased significantly despite the current economic growth. Aside from natural resource exploitation and agricultural activity, forestry and mining has also had negative impacts on the Papuan environment.
Aside from the efforts on the part of local and regional governments to encourage the acceleration and equal distribution of economic development in Papua, the Integrated Economic Development Zone of Biak (Kapet Biak), which covers the regencies of Biak Numfor, Yapen Waropen, Supiori, Nabire and Mimika, was created in 1998 and it is focused on the fishery and tourism sectors. However, development has been delayed due to overlapping regional and central government policies and bad management. Other initiatives include the creation of other special economic zones in Jayapura, Nabire, Sorong, Mimika, Merauke, Fak-Fak and Wamena. It is hoped these regions will become centers of growth for Papua. After Papua received Special Autonomy status, the regional government began to use its new status to begin the process of developing Papua with a focus on equal distribution and community empowerment. This principle is reflected in the Vision and Mission of the Papua Development Program which aims for cultural, social, political and economic self-sufficiency for Papua based on traditional and universal values. (bakti.org)

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