Arbaini (41), lives in Jarenang Village, Kuripan Sub-district, Barito Kuala District, South Kalimantan, Indonesia. He is a fisherman who also works at palm-oil factory just like most of the people in his village. Not only that, he’s also a craftsman who made weaving craft from Purun (Lepironia articulata). Arbaini harvest the Purun which grow largely near his house and turn them into cane mats, baskets and handbag or sell the raw Purun.
Generally, there are only crafts-women in most villages in South Kalimantan. That does not discourage Arbaini to learn and create weaving-crafts, which he studied from his parents and his villages ancestors.
Peatland Restoration Agency (Badan Restorasi Gambut/BRG) invited Arbaini to attend the 2019 Indonesian Festival Indonesia hosted by The Embassy of Republic of Indonesia in Oslo, Norway, on 29 – 30 June 2019. Arbaini represents Purun craftsmen which has become a tradition in almost all districts in South Kalimantan. He showcased a live-demo on how to weave Purun into quality crafts at the BRG booth.
The 2019 Indonesian Festival, the initial event in Oslo, is a cultural, tourism and trade exhibition, that highlighted on natural products from Indonesia’s great forest and peatland ecosystem.
Various products are displayed by BRG in Oslo, to present and promote rich potentials in tropical peatland ecosystem of Indonesia to the world, especially to the Norwegian. Not only eco-friendly weaving crafts, healthy snacks and food products, created by young farmers from Banyuasin and Musi Banyuasin Districts, South Sumatera and natural-dye “Sarisarangan” fabrics from Hulu Sungai Utara District, South Kalimantan are also exhibited.
South Kalimantan has 103.556 hectares of tropical peatland. 56.468 hectares are degraded peatland. This province is known with their traditional Purun weaving-crafts. Purun is a sedge that grows naturally on Borneo’s acid-sulfate peatland. Since 2017, BRG has assisted and conducted trainings for local communities in villages located in restoration target areas of South Kalimantan, to develop their crafts into fashionable products.
This Purun crafts development activities has improved economic empowerment of crafts-women in South Kalimantan. Before these development activities, Purun craftsmen and weavers, were struggled to increase their income. In one day, they only produced five mats which sold only for Rp. 20,000 per item.
“Craftsmen like myself hopes these Purun weaving crafts can be a sustainable source of income. We hope crafts from Purun can be internationally traded”, said Arbaini.
To continue the empowerment of local women groups and craftsmen in peatland ecosystem, the Peat Restoration Agency (BRG) has collaborated with designer Merdi Sihombing from Eco-fashion. Craftsmen were invited to participated in workshops on the development of natural weaving-crafts and “Sasirangan” fabrics with natural-dye techniques, using local plants and fruits in peatland ecosystem.
“Training from Mr. Merdi has elevated our crafts. Before, we could only create mats, traditional handbag and wallets, but now we can create modern handbags and wallets. We hope craftsmen will be more advanced that leads to increased household income,” said Arbaini while he’s finishing his handmade Purun mats.
For more information, please contact:
Deputy for Education, Socialization, Participation and Partnership
Peat Restoration Agency
Republic of Indonesia
About the Peat Restoration Agency
Indonesia Peat Restoration Agency (Badan Restorasi Gambut) is a non-structural institution that is under and is responsible to the President of the Republic of Indonesia. BRG was formed on January 6, 2016, through Presidential Regulation Number 1 of 2016 concerning the Peat Restoration Agency. BRG works in a special, systematic, directed, integrated and comprehensive manner to accelerate the recovery and return of hydrological functions of peat that is damaged mainly due to fire and drying with work areas is Riau Province, Jambi Province, South Sumatra Province, West Kalimantan Province, West Kalimantan Province, Province South Kalimantan and Papua Province.
For more information visit the Peat Restoration Agency website at brg.go.id