SB IPB, Bogor – Essential oil (Atsiri) currently growing as potential commodities for export, which historically was also target of the colonizers earlier. Indonesia is one of the world’s essential producers such as patchouli, cloves, cinnamon and fragrant lemongrass. M. Prayoga Sunandar a.k.a Yoga, a student of Master program of SB-IPB University realize and see this opportunities to develop essential business in his native region as well as one of essential’s producer area, Jambi.
He aware that lot of non optimal land utilized by the farmers. It commonly occur due to lack of farmers’ knowledge about essential as another potential commodity apart of oil palm and rubber. Moreover, farmers exchange rate (NTP) in those area is still low. Finding this fact, Yoga decided to convince the farmers to start planting essential and established CV Jambi Sentra Herbalindo. This startup business has running since 2018 which aim to grow economic independence by increasing NTP’s through planting essential commodities thus farmers have alternative choices for planted commodities. As a sociopreneur who has big dreams, Yoga obviously encounter many risks and obstacle. Besides of capital, limited farmers’ knowledge about essential oil make education and assistance for farmers are highly required thus the farmers will interest for planting essential commodities.
“Investments in equipments and materials are still challenging at the moment. Hence we try to collaborate between farmers since not all of them are affordable to buy seeds and equipments,” Yoga said. Furthermore, Yoga said that most important things of this business is not only focussing on quantity, but also on product’s quality. They presented a tool for production quality level checking since many farmers was fooled and considered their yield is not good if its cheap priced. Hence overall business process, starting from socialization, planting, production (refining, harvesting), until distribution has well planned.
During current Covid-19 pandemic, he admit that the business has affected as well. “Several factories was closed but it already gradually return to normal now. We decided to selling hand sanitizers since there is an increasing trend but it mixed with essential oil, so there would be a difference,” Yoga said. Various constraints and existing risks that faced by CV Jambi Sentra Herbalindo, the business remains survives despite the fact that abroad market has a distrust of Indonesia’s products. It motivated Yoga to develop traceability system for every produced product thus reducing fraud possibility and increasing trust from foreign markets against Indonesia’s essential business.
“We believe this is a huge potential since Europe’s essentials demand has rising, and it probably influenced by people who begin entered aging population so they tend to choose natural product. We also have owned organic certification which require to enter Europe’s market,” he said. Recently CV Jambi Sentra Herbalindo becomes raw material supplier for industries with 35 fostered farmers which offered products such as fragrant lemongrass, betel oil, and patchouli. CV Jambi Sentra Herbalindo has been also working with Science and Techno Park, IPB University who will mentored the business development. Furthermore, Yoga also following exporters program assistance held by Center for the Promotion of Imports from developing countries (CBI) Netherlands to learn about reaching export market. Yoga’s decision for continuing his education in Master program of SB-IPB University is not aimless. He want to increase his knowledge regarding business strategy on agro-industry sector that he is currently doing, broading his network and relation, as well as knowing more in business-related insights globaly.
At the end of the interview, Yoga convey some messages for peer entrepreneurs, especially that just getting started. “Business is an art, it takes a long process to reach the success. Of course there would be a lot of hurdles, our job to think how we could endure, consistent, and planning good strategy,” he said. Then, Yoga also advised all peer who interested in exports business, “Indonesia own many potential commodities that can be exported, however the most important thing is we know who is our buyer to minimize constraints at a later time. Besides that, we also have to know properly about regulation in every country, countries’ needs, and maintain relationship with our abroad relatives and collegues.”