SOLOK, WEST SUMATRA — “Before planting coffee, I had also tried to plant rubber seedlings. But the plants died, and the crop failed to harvest. Therefore, I look for firewood in the forests in Sirukam,” said Metrialdi (42), who is familiarly called Nomek, one of the beneficiaries of the Solok Sirukam Coffee program initiated by Dompet Dhuafa Singgalang since early 2019.
Before joining as a coffee farmer assisted by Dompet Dhuafa, Nomek had tried to plant rubber seeds but failed. Then he switched to work as a timber-seeking laborer in the Sirukam forest. At that time, his daily income was only IDR 25,000 per day. To get that result, he also had to collect 100 bundles of wood, which would later be sold to collectors for Rp250 per bundle.
Every day Nomek had to walk, covering a distance of 8 (eight) KM from his house to the place of search for firewood. He left home after the dawn prayers and returned home after maghrib.
It didn’t end there. He had to endure a long struggle mixed with tiredness. Passing through the high and steep hills can sometimes endanger him. When the rainy season comes, sometimes the wood he gets cannot be sold. But he managed to do all that with a great struggle to support his wife and 2 (two) children at home.
Entering 2019, Nomek eagerly joined as a member of the Solok Sirukam Dompet Dhuafa Coffee economic empowerment program. From here, he initially got the opportunity to change his economic life for the better.
During his time as a member of the coffee farmer, Nomek and other members received training and guidance. To know the procedures of a proper coffee planter.
“The first coffee harvest, Thank God, I got satisfactory results from selling coffee cherries. I was able to buy new school clothes for my son, who was about to enter junior high school, and provide an additional living for his wife,” he said.
The Solok Sirukam Coffee Village Program is a form of community empowerment in the economic sector initiated by Dompet Dhuafa in Jorong Kubang Nan Duo, Nagari Sirukam, Payung Sekaki District, Solok Regency, West Sumatra. Focusing on developing coffee commodities, especially Arabica, the Solok Sirukam Coffee program is an excellent opportunity to empower the people of Sirukam and its surroundings. (Dompet Dhuafa/ Cici / Dhika Prabowo / Arlen)