Entering the wide opened joint-kitchen in Setu, East Jakarta, producers and workers are in their hectic hours of producing tempe. Then there was a man called Maryono greet with smiles. This 44 year-old man is a tempe producer with a capacity of 35 kg/day and renting a space in this joint-kitchen managed by East Jakarta PRIMKOPTI (Tofu and Tempe Cooperative).
In April 2011, the joint-kitchen was upgraded by Indonesian Tempe Forum and funded by soybean importer with support from East Jakarta PRIMKOPTI and Mercy Corps Indonesia. It was renovated and equipped with stainless steel drum, efficient stove, stainless steel grinding machine as well as LPG. Thus he has been using those new equipments since then. Particularly for fuel cost, he usually spent IDR 150.000/month for firewood while using LPG (3 kgs), he is spending IDR 145.000/month which saves him IDR 5.000/month. He is very happy that there are changes in this joint-kitchen to a far better condition.
“Yes, it’s (the LPG) very good, now I can have two extra hours to rest and/or do other things (related with producing tempe)”, said Maryono explaining about some benefits of using LPG compare to firewood. Other benefits that he felt are: it saves his manpower; the place is much cleaner now as there is no smoke anymore; and LPG is available in the market. “Firewood is getting rare and more expensive these days”, exclaimed this man who originally came from Pekalongan, Central Java. There are times when he has to stop producing tempe approximately 1–2 days in a month because he don’t have a firewood supply.
Major, what he usually called further explained about the comparison of firewood price within six years. “In 2006, one car (pick up) of fire wood cost IDR 75.000, while now, it reaches up from IDR 250.000 to IDR 300.000”, said a father of three children . This condition has really shown an increase of firewood cost approximately 30% per year and will continue to increase in the future.