Empowering SME
Boosting Small Micro Enterprises: FNF and LEGEPE Empowers Local Palm Sugar Producers


FNF Indonesia and the Institute of Empowerment Movement (LEGEPE) came together to conduct Training on Small Micro Enterprise Empowerment for 30 participants of palm sugar producers from the sub-district of Limbangan, Kendal, Central Java. The event aimed to encourage the growth of small micro-enterprises and enhance their businesses in the palm sugar industry.

The palm sugar industry has been gaining popularity as a favored choice among health-conscious populations worldwide. In 2021, Central Java alone witnessed an annual palm sugar production of 3,467 tons, primarily concentrated in five districts: Banjarnegara, Cilacap, Purworejo, Temanggung, and Semarang. A very small sub-district like Limbangan in Kendal also produced palm sugar, although it’s production is still far from those of the 5 regions.

Recognizing the potential of the palm sugar industry in Limbangan, FNF Indonesia and LEGEPE took the initiative to support local producers in developing their businesses as Small Micro Enterprises. The aim was to equip these producers with the necessary skills, knowledge, and resources to thrive in the competitive market and contribute to the growth of the palm sugar sector in their region.


Warsito Ellwein, the director of LEGEPE, emphasized the importance of cooperation among palm sugar producers in Limbangan. He eloquently described "Gotong Royong," a spirit of mutual cooperation and collaboration, as the key to achieving their shared goals, fostering unity, and bolstering a sense of solidarity. Participants agreed on the need for improved communication to enhance their cooperation as palm sugar producers. Effective communication, as Warsito pointed out, would not only strengthen their collaboration but also prove beneficial for their businesses. He also emphasized the significance of forging partnerships with governments, private sectors, educational institutions, and other relevant stakeholders to drive the development of their palm sugar business.

Gotong Royong is the key to achieve our goals”

- Warsito Ellwein.

Agung Budi Santoso, the representative from Central Java Province Cooperation Service, provided valuable insights into developing small micro-enterprises in the palm sugar industry. He addressed the significance of combining theory and practice as a fundamental strategy. According to him, active learning and gathering ample information related to their business are crucial, followed by implementing the acquired knowledge into practical operations.

Agung further elaborated on the essential entrepreneurial competencies that palm sugar producers should possess, such as technical skills, marketing skills, and networking abilities. He acknowledged the common challenges faced by Small Micro Enterprises, including weak product competitiveness due to traditional marketing practices, insufficient market information, and a lack of robust networking. Additionally, the continuity of production and product quality were identified as other pressing concerns that need to be addressed to ensure sustained success in the industry.

During the training, Sawiyah one of the participants shared the challenges faced by palm sugar producers today. She highlighted the difficulties in accessing relevant information for product development and the ongoing struggle to maintain product quality. The hope expressed by Sawiyah and other participants was that they could collaborate to find solutions and establish standardized quality criteria for palm sugar products, promoting collective production and advancement within the industry.

Supporting Sawiyah's perspective, Ripana, a resource person at the event, stressed the need for establishing quality standards in palm sugar production. He expressed regret that producers have not yet introduced some innovations in their products, which he believes is a pivotal aspect of business growth. Underscoring the significance of innovation in any business, Ripana urged the participants to continuously apply the knowledge gained from the training.

Additionally, the participants received valuable guidance from Dr. Victoria Kristina Aniningsih on the methods of processing, packaging, and storing palm sugar. Dr. Aniningsih also explained the importance of selecting attractive, high-quality, and environmentally friendly packaging to capture the interest of potential buyers.

As the activity concluded, the participants collectively formulated action plans aimed at developing the palm sugar business in their sub-district, Limbangan. Among the significant action plans is the establishment of a production house, which will foster collaborative efforts in producing palm sugar and further strengthen the local industry. With newfound knowledge and a unified vision, the participants left the event humbly equipped to drive positive change and enhance the prospects of palm sugar production in their region.