Productivity on the Rise

28 August 2012: Production of fuel briquettes is very much on the rise in Puereulak, Aceh Timur. The Maju Beusare KSM (self-help group) has gone from producing 90kg of fuel briquettes per month to producing 150kg in three hours.

The substantial increase is largely due to the group being provided with motorised machinery to work with, replacing the previous manual methods.

Maju Beusare is one of 72 KSMs formed in six districts in the province of Aceh participating in the LOGICA 2 Village Centred Livelihood program. The AusAID-funded, Coffey-managed program comprises a range of strategies that support village-based enterprises to create livelihood opportunities, social networking and community solidarity. There are currently 2000 members of the various KSMs in the six districts where LOGICA 2 operates, with 86 percent of the members women.

The Maju Beusare KSM was voluntarily formed, with the members determining the operational structure of the group, which included a system of participation in voluntary and compulsory saving schemes and the beginning of a saving and lending practice that will develop into a village banking cooperative.

The group seized on the opportunity to develop enterprise ideas using local resources. Manju Beusare members joined other KSMs in vocational training provided by LOGICA 2 and facilitated by trainers from Bandung, West Java, to produce fuel briquettes.

Fuel briquettes are made from agricultural and commercial residues such as weeds, leaves, rice husks, coconut shells and other organic waste. The basic process involves collecting the materials, pounding or grinding them to a certain consistency, mixing the materials, allowing them to sit for a period of time, pressing the mash into a fuel briquette using a specially designed press, allowing the briquettes to dry, and finally, burning the fuel briquettes, as one would burn firewood or charcoal.

The KSM members executed these procedures manually for almost two years, until they were provided with all the equipment necessary to mechanise the process by the LOGICA 2 Village Centred Livelihood program.

Suhaida, Maju Beusare Secretary said that the introduction of the machines has had a huge impact on the group, "The women can confidently operate the machines, we feel that we are contributing to a cleaner environment, and we are now looking at expanding our market further than the local warung kopi."

Market expansion is very much on the agenda, as the fuel briquettes-producing KSMs have received interest from buyers in Malaysia and Singapore. The KSM members are also keenly pushing their product locally, not only for economic reasons, but to prevent the depletion of the mangroves in the area, caused by the use of conventional mangrove woods to fuel fire.

 

LOGICA 2 is now in its second phase, and focuses on improving living standards for marginalised people in Aceh, Indonesia through providing effective government services that are influenced by local communities.

 

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