As the head of the cooperative, Poniran is a formidable figure. How could it not be, he who used to wander as an electronics repairman is now an important figure in the development of coconut sugar agricultural products. Since his school days, he has often helped his parents, who also work as coconut sugar farmers, so tapping is no longer a new thing for Poniran.

When he decided to get married and return to his hometown, the first thing he did was to provide for his family while working as an on-call repairman. It was then that he had the opportunity to talk to one of his clients about crystalline coconut sugar. He learned it by himself and was motivated to practice it in the village.

In the past, he did not have any knowledge of marketing but on one occasion a company from the Banyumas district came to provide training and they offered a market for crystalline coconut sugar. It was then, Poniran became even more enthusiastic about developing crystalline coconut sugar.

However, changing the farming habits of the people was not an easy matter. During that time many conventional coconut sugar producers still practiced mixing with chemicals and they considered this practice the only best way to make their coconut sugar a good product. Poniran did not give up, even though he was not paid, he believed that organic farming would lift the community’s economy, especially coconut sugar farmers. He trains his relatives and neighbours to make crystal sugar. It is not uncommon for people to sneer and question what he gets from his activities which are considered useless.

When the crystal coconut sugar distribution company returned to visit Pegadingan Village, they were surprised to find that they needed far more products than during their previous visit. After that Poniran was appointed as the company’s ICS and received a monthly salary by continuing his activities in providing training for the production of crystal coconut sugar and socializing organic farming to more people in his village.

For years he has been doing this job, there are more and more organic coconut sugar producers and the product is good enough to make several other large exporting companies also enter to obtain products from this region.

Many collectors wanted to be recruited as company collectors. Seeing this, Poniran became more vigilant because it could lead to divisions if left unchecked. In the end, he regrouped the producer members and strengthened their belief to remain one voice in marketing the products they make, “The owners of these products are farmers, so don’t let collectors or companies control us,” he said while reminiscing about that struggle. It wasn’t just the farmers he strengthened, the  group cooperation he fostered with the company that paid him went well. Even the company suggested Poniran form a cooperative so that the group he fostered would become stronger and have a good legal framework. Poniran and his team faced another challenge because they didn’t know whom to meet if they wanted to form a cooperative, besides that it took about 3 hours to travel to the city center where the cooperative operates. The company representatives also helped in the registration process because Poniran really didn’t have any experience. Currently, the cooperative that he pioneered is a vessel and hope for its member farmers to sell their products in a fair and sustainable manner.

The big dreams of farmers are on the shoulders of Poniran and his team to create prosperity.  He invites young people in their area to take part in agriculture and in the business of the cooperative so that cooperative performance becomes optimal and there are lots of creative ideas.

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