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Coffee Learning House and Geotourism Fostered by PGE Ulubelu Increases the Economy of Tanggamus Coffee Farmers

PT Pertamina Geothermal Energy (PGE) Ulubelu Area in Tanggamus Regency, Lampung Province, part of Pertamina New & Renewable Energy, in carrying out its geothermal power plant business operations also prioritizes social and environmental aspects, including community empowerment by optimizing the potential of the coffee plant to improve the local economy through the Coffee Learning House and Coffee-Geotourism programs.

Andi Joko Nugroho, General Manager of PGE Ulubelu Area, said that PGE did not only focus on improving the economy of coffee farmers in Ulubelu but also on educating coffee farmers to care about the environment so that the agricultural activities would continue favorably in a long term.

“In collaboration with the Association of Farmers Groups (Gapoktan), we created a Coffee Learning House program in Sukamaju Village, Ulubelu. The goal is to increase the competencies of coffee farmers in order to produce quality coffee and increase the selling price," said Andi on Saturday, November 19, 2022.

According to Andi, coffee farmers must focus on quality, not just quantity so that the volume of coffee cultivation in protected forests can be reduced. "We must return the protected forests to their original function," he said.

Environmental issues become a challenge in coffee cultivation in Ulubelu. Gapoktan and PGE of the Ulubelu Area independently conduct 5,000 shade plant nurseries. Indigofera, functioning as shading plants, will be planted in the coffee plantation areas. "By planting these shade trees, it is expected to increase crop productivity, maintain soil fertility, and preserve forests," he explained.

Based on the 2019 Social Mapping data by Gadjah Mada University, 83.33% of the Ulubelu people work as coffee farmers, indicating that many coffee farmers plant in the protected forests. Even with a Community Forest Management Business License (SIUPHKm), planting coffee in a protected forest will reduce its main function as a life support system such as regulating water management, preventing floods, controlling erosion, and maintaining soil fertility.

Together with the Kopi Beloe partner group, the Kota Agung Utara KPHL, and two Ulubelu Gapoktan, PGE Ulubelu Area agreed to carry out environmental and sustainable coffee farming by planting shade plants for coffee farmers.

Besides Coffee Learning House program, PGE Ulubelu Area also cooperates with Bakrie University (Ubakrie), Jakarta, to run the Ministry of Education and Culture's Kedaireka Matching Fund program in developing potential geothermal-based tourism and coffee plantations through the Geotourism-Coffee program at Ulu Belu head office in Tanggamus.

The Geotourism-Coffee program consists of competency training and mentoring for tourism village organizations, pioneering the establishment of the Coffee Geotourism Lab as an information and education center on geothermal energy, Lampung robusta coffee, Bimtek and Geotourism Guide certifications.

Eli Jamilah, Chief Executive of the Kedaireka 2022 Matching Fund, said that this year UBakrie and PGE will develop a branding strategy for the Ulubelu destination around the main commodities of coffee and geothermal tourism. "We hope that the result of geotourism-coffee activity can map the potential of products and tourism programs and to optimize the competencies of tourism village groups and coffee farmers," said Eli.

In running the business, PGE continues to be committed to developing geothermal energy and ensuring the implementation of Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) as an integrated part of PGE's geothermal business. The implementation of these ESG aspects is an effort to provide added value and support the government programs related to the use of new, renewable energy that is environmentally friendly, especially the geothermal energy.

PGE's commitment to developing geothermal energy can contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of Goal 7 (Clean and Affordable Energy), Goal 12 (Responsible Construction and Production), Goal 13 (Climate Change Management), and Goal 15 (Land Ecosystem).

PGE currently manages 13 Geothermal Working Areas (WKP) with an installed capacity of 1.8 GW, of which 672 MW are operated and managed directly by PGE and 1,205 MW are managed under a Joint Operation Contract scenario. Geothermal installed capacity in PGE working area contributes to around 82% of the total installed geothermal capacity in Indonesia, with a potential reduction of CO2 emissions of around 9.7 million tonnes of CO2 per year. (*)

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