In an effort to increase the capacities of assisted forest farmer groups, the Environmental and Forestry Education and Training Center (BD LHK) in Makassar, South Sulawesi held an informal meeting on 16 September 2021. The meeting was attended by 20 representatives of the Mattiro Deceng Forest Farmers Group, the BD LHK team in Makassar, the Extension Officer from the Forest Management Unit (KPH) of Bulusaraung and FORCLIME. During the meeting, which was led by the Head of the evaluation department at BD LHK Makassar, the Forestry Extension Officer and FORCLIME’s adviser, the Mattiro Deceng affirmed that the processing of palm sugar and natural honey was making a significant contribution to the community’s income. However, the community continues to face various challenges, including: (1) The production and quality of palm sap is being strongly influenced by the climate; (2) The harvesting of honey continues to be undertaken through the use of the fumigation technique, which has the potential to cause forest fires, as well as accidents, due to the fact that this technique involves the climbing of tall trees; (3) The marketing of palm sugar and honey is still being undertaken on an individual basis, meaning that the overall bargaining position of the community remains low and that prices fluctuate. In the wake of these problems, the Mattiro Deceng are hoping to receive support for the marketing of wild honey and palm sugar, as well as in relation to the diversification of their palm-sugar products and the introduction of sustainable bee harvesting.
The Mattiro Deceng Forest Farmers Group live in Panggalungan in Tabo-Tabo Village in Pangkep Regency, South Sulawesi. This village is one of a number that surrounds the Tabo-Tabo Training Forest. The group was first formed by the Forestry Extension Officer at BD LHK Makassar back in 2014. The Mattiro Deceng comprises 30 people who are working to develop their business, which involves the processing of palm sugar and the harvesting of wild honey from the Tabo-Tabo Training Forest area.
As a follow-up to this meeting, the KTH Mattiro Deceng will continue to hold regular meetings in order to discuss solutions to the various challenges that they continue to face.