COVID-19 Emergency Premium Funds Mobilized for Fair Trade Fisher Associations in Central Sulawesi, Maluku and North Maluku

22 Apr 2020
MDPI Communications
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The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact small-scale tuna fishers in Indonesia. From the dramatic price drop of tuna to decreasing demands in Japan and the USA along with other associated factors have made it difficult for fishers to make the daily income required to meet their primary needs. In an attempt to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, many processing factories have been forced to close for the time being due to quarantine issues. This toppled with the drop in demand for tuna, due to the temporary closure of restaurant chains in the USA and the discontinuation of airfreight shipments to Japan, has impacted the entire tuna supply chain. For tuna fishers in Indonesia whose catch is exported globally, they are now having to accept export sales price at near local market price. Amid this difficult time, tuna Fair Trade Fisher Associations (FAs) in Central Sulawesi, Maluku and North Maluku have been looking for a way to respond to the effects of this global pandemic.

Fair Trade USA has announced a policy allowing the use of Premium Funds to be allocated for an Emergency Response Program during the pandemic. Premium Funds are usually earmarked for certain activities identified by the FAs at their bi-annual planning meetings, typically to support the establishment of cooperatives and waste management handling such as Ecobricks. In adherence to social distancing recommendations, the MDPI field team have since conducted a series of telephone meetings with Fair Trade FAs that MDPI work with, to discuss how best to mobilize funds.

Premium Funds of Rp 128,800,000 (US $9,200) in total have been allocated for Fair Trade FAs emergency response, with allocation of funds ranging from Rp 6,300,000 to Rp 27,000,000 (US$450 – 1,930) per FA/group for the procurement of immediate necessities such as, rice, cooking oil sugar and others, as well as masks and disinfectant. Other supplies will continue to be distributed over the next few weeks as the Ramadan period begins. To date, supplies have been distributed to 208 families in FA villages, including widows and orphans.

The FA groups that have mobilized their Premium Funds as part of the emergency response program to date include: Lumba-Lumba FA in Salumpaga village in the Toli-Toli regency; Tuna Yapana FA and Tuna Tunas Beringin FA in South Seram; the Bisa Island Committee in South Halmahera consisting of Tuna Jaya FA (East Madapolo village), Usaha Bersama FA (West Madapolo village), Beringin Jaya FA (Waringi village), Samudera Mandioli FA (Lele village) and Usaha Laut FA (Bahu village). Several fisher groups in other areas, 9 groups in Buru and 2 groups in Sanana, have also proposed using their Premium Funds under the Emergency Response Program.

With uncertainty surrounding how long the impacts of COVID-19 will last, MDPI continues to adaptively respond to the need of each FA and provide appropriate support through remote assistance to confirm the duration of the Emergency Response Program and the availability of funds.


Pandemi COVID-19 masih terus berdampak pada nelayan tuna skala kecil di Indonesia. Dari harga beli ikan tuna yang menurun drastis hingga penurunan permintaan tuna dari Jepang dan Amerika serta berbagai factor terkait lainnya, menyebabkan nelayan kesulitan mendapatkan penghasilan sehari-hari demi memenuhi kebutuhan primer. Dalam upaya untuk mengurangi penyebaran COVID-19, banyak perusahaan pengolah ikan terpaksa tutup untuk sementara waktu karena himbauan karantina. Hal ini, ditambah dengan berkurangnya permintaan tuna akibat banyaknya restoran di Amerika yang tutup dan penghentian pengiriman jalur udara ke Jepang, telah berdampak pada seluruh rantai ekspor tuna. Bagi nelayan tuna Indonesia yang hasil tangkapannya diekspor secara global, saat ini mereka harus menerima harga jual pasar ekspor yang sudah mendekati harga pasar lokal. Di tengah masa sulit ini para kelompok nelayan tuna, atau Fisher Association (FA) Fair Trade binaan MDPI di Sulawesi Tengah, Maluku dan Maluku Utara harus mencari jalan keluar untuk dapat menghadapi dampak pandemi global ini.

Sebagai respon terhadap penyebaran COVID-19 saat ini, Fair Trade USA telah mengeluarkan kebijakan yang memperbolehkan penggunaan Dana Premium untuk Program Darurat selama pandemi berlangsung. Dana Premium Kelompok biasanya dialokasikan untuk mejalankan kegiatan yang telah direncakanan oleh kelompok, seperti pembentukan Koperasi dan pelatihan Ecobrick. Demi menaati anjuran social distancing oleh pemerintah Indonesia, tim MDPI melakukan serangkaian rapat melalui telepon dengan FA binaan untuk mendiskusikan cara terbaik dalam menggunakan Dana Premium mereka selama masa tanggap darurat COVID-19.

Total Dana Premium sebesar Rp 128,800,000 (US $9,200) telah dialokasikan untuk program tanggap darurat dengan kisaran alokasi dana mulai dari Rp 6,300,000 hingga Rp 27,000,000 (US $450-1,930) per kelompok untuk pengadaan berbagai kebutuhan mendesak, seperti beras, gula, minyak goreng dan sebagainya, serta masker dan disinfektan. Kebutuhan lainnya akan terus didistribusikan dalam beberapa minggu ke depan dalam rangka bulan Ramadan. Sejauh ini kebutuhan telah didistribusikan kepada total 208 keluarga di desa kelompok, termasuk janda dan anak yatim.

Kelompok/FA yang telah menyepakati pengadaan program ini termasuk: FA Lumba-Lumba di desa Salumpaga kabupaten Toli-Toli; FA Tuna Yapana dan FA Tuna Tunas Beringin di Seram Selatan; Komite Kelompok Pulau Bisa di Halmahera Selatan, di antaranya FA Tuna Jaya (desa Madapolo Timur), FA Usaha Bersama (desa Madapolo Barat), FA Beringin Jaya (desa Waringi), FA Samudera Mandioli (desa Lele) dan FA Usaha Laut (desa Bahu). Beberapa kelompok nelayan di daerah lainnya, seperti 9 kelompok di Buru dan 2 kelompok di Sanana, juga telah mengusulkan penggunaan Dana Premium mereka untuk Program Tanggap Darurat COVID-19 dalam waktu dekat.

Dengan ketidakpastian dan minimnya informasi seputar berapa lama dampak pandemi ini akan berlansung, MDPI akan terus merespon kebutuhan setiap FA secara adaptif dan memberikan konfirmasi mengenai keberlangsungan Program Tanggap Darurat dan ketersediaan dana.

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