Lampung is a province of Indonesia, located on the southern tip of the island of Sumatra and borders the provinces of Bengkulu and South Sumatra. Its capital is Bandar Lampung, and it’s rich of many original commodities. One of the most renowned potential in Lampung is pepper.
Lampong black pepper has been well known since 16th century. Many people from the colonies, traders, and even the royals searched this commodity as one of valuable spices originated from Nusantara. Lampung, which was under the power of Banten empire on that time had pepper as the main commodity to be sold. As the consequences, Lampung took place as the center of pepper commerce in the world. From the history, Lampung declares pepper as a traditional potential plant and makes the figure as the symbol of Lampung Province- together with paddy which is also the main natural resources Lampung has produced.
If we focus on the real condition today, Lampung has 63.700 Ha area planted with pepper: 7.240 Ha hasn’t yield up, 47.519 Ha is productive, and 8.941 Ha planted with damaged or old pepper. Lampung has produced 23.239 ton of pepper, with its productivity 466 kg/Ha. If we compare to other country in South East Asia- for example Vietnam with its pepper productivity 2.000 kg/Ha, there’s no other miserable word to say that we have been left aside from our glorious era of having pepper as our main commodity. We are out to make pepper striving in the world spices trading, although we have its capability to make it- compare to the history. Amid the free trade, pepper can’t be the original commodity we are proud of because the lack of management of the resources. The viability of Indonesian pepper now is going to be decreased and this is what I want to show you so everybody will be realized of the condition and we can stand together fix the problem.
The preference of Lampung society to plant pepper has decreased for many years. For a long time, West Lampung, South Lampung, North Lampung, East Lampung, Way Kanan, Tanggamus, and Middle Lampung regions have been the potential places to plant pepper. But now, the cultivation of pepper is not really popular, also with the rejuvenation of its plant. From three years past, the area of pepper plantation in the North Lampung has decreased about 7%; in 2009 the pepper land area is 25.832 Ha, in 2010 became 24.521 Ha, until in 2011 it became 24.124 Ha. This reduction is generally caused by the changeover of the land use and the disease of the plant. The citizen has no interest to plant pepper because the price of pepper that once had significantly reduced and it’s difficult to treat the plant patiently. Pepper is vulnerable to plant because generally it’s easy to have disease such as rod mushroom disease that causes white look on the pepper plant and make it withered.
Another factor that causes the reduction of planting pepper in Lampung is that the wage of pepper farmer which is lower than other farmers. Their income is about Rp 4 million/Ha/year, or Rp 333.000/Ha/month. Commonly we can infer that the farmers are not able to fulfill their daily needs by only depending on farming pepper. So, difficulties of treating and fertilizing pepper and the earning by planting pepper are not appropriate one to another; it officially makes they changed the type of plant to harvest in Lampung.
It doesn’t mean that we can’t make this pepper has it glorious era like we had before. It’s impossible for us to help them and to make Lampung Black Pepper has its name in international spice trade again. We can make rejuvenation, intensification, and extensification of planting pepper. It’s also important to make a pepper culture preserve in the concept of agribusiness. We can make a pepper tourism place so the plantation of pepper can be increased in the fun and educative way. We can also make a persuasive to the citizen so they aware of the potential of pepper, especially Lampung Black Pepper that has been a worldwide known. We can also educate the farmers of how they can cure the pepper disease and to treat the plant well. Socialization of planting pepper is likely to be crucial because of its need. We also have to re-expose Lampung Black Pepper, from inside the citizen that we have to persuade and also the outside which is the international subjects to know the greatness of Lampung Black Pepper. Even now, Papa Ron’s pizza has its menu of Lampung Black Pepper pizza. What are we waiting for to also help the government loving this pepper? We do have to start it now!