The production of coconut sugar has been a mainstay of the economy in Banyumas for years, but the community was held captive by the large factories it sold to.
They also received little support from the government due to the relative lack of popularity of coconut sugar.
The community knew something had to change, and established KSU Nira Satria. Through a 3-step process, they re-invented the coconut sugar industry for Banyumas. First, they created structured producer groups to improve organization. Next they worked with local NGOs to create an Internal Control System (ICS) which established a standard of quality that is measurable and can be promoted to buyers, particularly to an international market.
Finally, they created a more versatile product from the coconut tree extract - coconut sugar crystals.
While cubed coconut sugar only lasts for about 3 months, the crystals can last for up to two years.
Now exports are the majority of business, and income has increased on average 40% for the over 1,000 households involved.
Goals and objectives
KSU Nira Satria plans to develop a small general store and would like to offer health insurance and loans directly to community members in the future. With a new commitment to reinvesting in the community,
Banyumas has a renewed sense of a pride and an eye firmly on its future.