28 Jan 2021
Lumban Lintong, Toba - August Samosir is one of the activists of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (UMKM) assisted by PT INALUM (Persero) who was affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. With a background as a farmer, he opened the door to a new livelihood through his cassava chips business in 2013. His current business is still up and running despite the uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic.
August Samosir's production of cassava chips during the pandemic has decreased by around 30%, from three tons or about 900 packs per month to one ton or 300 packs per month. This decline in production has an impact on reducing the number of workers from seven people, now only five people are left.
August sells cassava chips in small packages at economical prices aimed at school children and stalls in Toba. Inevitably, sales of cassava chips have also decreased, especially sales in school canteens, due to the pandemic. Even so, the name of the Dosroha chips is still fancy in various stalls, offices, or health centers in the Toba area.
August Samosir's cassava chips business consists of three flavors, namely original, spicy and reliable. This business he named Dosroha. In the Batak language, Dosroha means one heart and one mind. The hope is that Dosroha Chips can run smoothly and successfully because the name Dosroha is a prayer and an effort to unite the hearts and minds of the workers who are members of their own extended family.
In addition to producing cassava chips, August, while farming, also often participates in training on agriculture. He tries to make all the ingredients used in making cassava chips from his own field, such as sweet potatoes and chilies for the spicy cassava variant.
Before working in the cassava chips business, August had sold sweet potatoes to tapioca producers but their sales were hampered. Seeing a great opportunity, he then decided to start a cassava chips business and immediately conducted a survey to the stalls. He has conducted various trials and evaluations to produce a better chip product. He shared the results of the test chips with several people who were willing to provide testimonials and input for the cassava chips.
"We surveyed the shop, there were already those selling cassava chips, but not many. So, several times we tried making chips. In the past, even making it used simple manual tools. Then, we ask other people's opinions about the taste and the passion. After it is okay, we will market it, ”said August.
Not only focusing on producing chips, he is also actively participating in competition activities. In 2018, he participated in and won the Business Competition to Increase Family Income (UP2K) and won 1st place at the Toba Regency level and 3rd place at the North Sumatra Province level. He also has several certificates, one of which is the Home Industry Food Production Certificate from the Toba District Health Office.
The lessons learned and achievements in the cassava chip business for seven years can be imitated by new entrepreneurs. The owner of Dosroha Chips also said that he doesn't mind teaching people who are curious and learn how to make cassava chips.
“Several times, people have come and asked to be taught how to make cassava chips. Yes, we teach them, some of them now have even opened their own cassava chips business. There is no fear of being rivaled because we also cannot fulfill all the demand for chips in the Toba area, ”said August.
He has been a UMKM under the guidance of PT INALUM (Persero) since 2018. Capital loan assistance of Rp. 30,000,000 with an administration fee of 3% used for production costs and poultry. He said that he had experienced the benefits of partnering with Inalum. Previously, the Dosroha Chips production equipment was incomplete and the turnover he received was IDR 10,000,000 / month. After partnering, he completed his production tools and got double the turnover from before, which was Rp. 20,000,000 / month. However, during the pandemic, the turnover fell to Rp. 13,000,000 / month.
In addition to turnover, other benefits he feels are getting a loan with low administrative costs, extensive relationships, and training that can develop entrepreneurial skills.
"First, the number of MSME players from other districts has increased. Second, Inalum conducts training to improve the capabilities of its partners, such as training on using Google Business for selling products online. During the pandemic, Inalum ordered a lot of our cassava chips, ”said August.