What comes to your mind when you hear the word Lombok?
Maybe the panorama of the beaches that are not inferior to Bali? Or the sweat pouring down when you eat Taliwang chicken and sambal plecing? For me, Lombok is Rinjani. Even the story of Rinjani’s climbing drama is one of the most visited posts on this blog.
However, a new fact that I learned while on the island of origin of this Taliwang chicken is: Lombok is one of the largest and best tobacco producers in Indonesia. Even the world.
Fortunately, tobacco cannot be used as a plecing like kale. If so, maybe these tobaccos are also friends with Lombok’s plecing chili sauce, which always makes sweat fall. This is because, according to the Central Statistics Agency, in 2011, the consumption of vegetables by the people of NTB reached 68 kg per capita per year, or above the national average of 48.8 kg per capita per year – making it the province with the most vegetable consumption. Hmm, it’s only natural that every meal in Lombok, kale and sprouts are never absent as a side dish.
I’m with my blogger friends
and capital artists like Gus Mus visited a tobacco-producing garden in Padamara Village, East Lombok. This is the first time I have seen tobacco with my own eyes. Apparently, this broad-leaved plant with a yellowish green color has a height almost like an adult human. And they are everywhere as far as my eye can see. Not many people were seen there, some tobacco looked like it had just been harvested because August is harvest season.
“Tobacco is a spoiled plant,” said Pak Iskandar, a head of a tobacco warehouse in East Lombok. The slightest delay in watering, it can change from the highest quality to the lowest quality. Luckily, Lombok has rain that makes the soil volcanic, has the right temperature, and enough rainfall. “In Sumba the land is also good for tobacco, but unfortunately there is very little water there,” said Iskandar again.
Before becoming a tobacco producer, Central Lombok was an area that could be said to be an underdeveloped village. However, since tobacco cultivation began in the 1980s, after knowing that Lombok’s natural conditions were very compatible with Virginia tobacco, the economy of this area gradually improved.
Tobacco land in Lombok is mostly owned by farmers and is managed independently. However, farmers still receive counseling from the company regarding seed standards, planting methods, and other sundries. From the research and development department, the company continues to help farmers to improve their knowledge.
However, having the best natural resources for farming does not mean that the farmers here are free from problems. Problems range from the difficulty of the fuel to dry tobacco to the problem of determining grade quality of tobacco is often encountered. Farmers must know exactly how to distinguish the quality of tobacco, because the price range is in the 7 thousand rupiah to 39 thousand rupiah per kilogram. Very far.
I personally do not use and really like tobacco products. But after this trip to lombok, my perspective on tobacco changed a bit. The production chain from tobacco to finished products is very long and involves many parties, especially farmers. It sounds cliché, but for them, tobacco farming is a cultural heritage, even part of their life in this land of Lombok.
I really hope that farmers and companies can continue to empower each other; transparent in determining quality and payment, so that no one is harmed. Here, indeed there are farmers who can go on the pilgrimage many times. However, there are also many small-income farm workers who are saving little by little to try to send their children to graduate school.
Tobacco is a commodity that is quite controversial. For farmers in Lombok, tobacco is the main source of income, their way of life, traditions and cultural heritage. Looking at the field myself, I also don’t blame the government for having a hard time controlling people’s dependence on tobacco. Socio-economic facts like this are also faced with other facts where tobacco is the main raw material for products that have the potential to be harmful to health.
Oh yes, as a reminder, the kind of advertisements that always show a funny man with a mustache and blowing skull smoke at the bottom, using tobacco products will still kill you. But, don’t kill your mind with bad thoughts before you know very well what’s going on behind there.
Ah, when are we going to Lombok again?
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