“Wife empowerment is a gender approach that needs to be considered in alleviating poverty in any location, including coastal areas. This is because wives are usually the ones who manage and have in depth knowledge of the family’s financial condition. In addition, usually the wives are also in control of the affairs of their children, from meeting their primary needs to education,” said Sarwono Kusumaatmadja, Senior Advisor Pusat Transformasi Kebijakan Publik (Transformasi), who was also the Minister of Marine and Fishery during Gus Dur’s era.
Fishermen in Indonesia face complex problems. In addition to technical issues, fishermen face social issues in need of suitable policy solution and action. If the government continues to conduct the same policy pattern, fishermen will remain shackled by poverty. Based on BPS 2014 data, 7,8 million people in coastal areas are still living under the poverty line.
It is publicly known that to fulfill the needs of life, most fishermen are heavily dependent on sea commodities provided by nature. After obtaining their catch, fishermen immediately sell them to survive. They will be in trouble if they get lesser catch.
Inter-ministerial coordination must also be performed. The Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fishery must coordinate with the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Ministry of Cooperative and Small Medium Enterprise. Joint policy can be taken and implemented in the form of business capital and training. Therefore, in addition to catching fish, fishermen can obtain other sources of income to support their family’s economy.
This policy change must be taken by the national and local government to improve the economy of fishermen. Ideally, the appropriate policy making can improve the lives of many fishermen, more so compared to physical assistance. The key word is empowering all elements to improve the welfare of fishermen families.
There are many ventures that can be implemented, such as processing captured fish into locally unique foods that can be resold to other regions or to domestic and international tourists. Other businesses unrelated to captured fish can also be done, such as opening restaurants and making souvenirs.
With increased economic condition and welfare, fishermen families can provide better education to their children. “Fishermen profession must be limited. The people living in coastal areas should not have to be fishermen because they are forced to. They must have options in life to be better, and that can be obtained if fishermen’s children can gain better education,” Sarwono continued. (Transformasi)