Enjoying Agro Tourism at the Orange Orchard in Sambas, West Kalimantan

You will discover the answer to the puzzle of why "Tebas has the orchard, Pontianak has the name".

If at any time you are leisurely traveling, conducting research, or on official business in West Kalimantan, take the opportunity for agrotourism to Tebas, Sambas Regency. You will discover the answer to the puzzle of why "Tebas has the orchard, Pontianak has the name" for those famous oranges.

Jeruk Pontianak, renowned for its high quality, abundant water content, and honey-like sweetness, holds an intriguing tale. Ironically, the orange groves are not nestled in Pontianak but rather in Sambas Regency, a distance of 228 kilometers. Nonetheless, Pontianak maintains its status as the "home" of these oranges. 

As a traveler in West Kalimantan, one can savor the allure of these oranges at the Agro Jeruk Sambas.

Oranges: Sambas has the orchard, Pontianak has the name

This variety of orange boasts a unique narrative; it thrives in Sambas but garners its nomenclature from Pontianak. It's a captivating twist of fate. As an embodiment of "C'est la vie," life unfolds with its share of surprises.

Oranges grown in Tebas, Sambas, are sold in Pontianak at high prices.

The oranges are cultivated in Tebas District, Sambas Regency, known as the "ghost town" or Kun Tien. Despite being recognized predominantly as Jeruk Pontianak, it is advisable to abstain from referring to it as such at the Equator, as it might become a source of amusement.

Following this, a riddle emerges, inviting profound contemplation, "Why do oranges flourish when they are cut? Why?" Regrettably, one of the region's economic pillars, the orange groves, is now relegated to the status of legend. 

Over the past five years, the lands of the orange groves have desiccated and perished without a clearly discernible cause.

Speculation circulates regarding the return of KCL fertilizer to Indonesia due to its failure to meet quality standards, ostensibly for political reasons. However, according to Aseng, an orange farmer, an unjust trade system is the fundamental issue. The offspring of a local ruler altered the market mechanism, establishing a monopoly that left orange farmers in a precarious position.

In the past, the orange epicenter in Tebas was a source of pride for West Kalimantan's agriculture, engaging thousands of farmers. However, as the oranges began to wane, farmers were compelled to allow their orchards to wither due to the inequitable trade system. The heyday of the oranges brought prosperity to the locals, but now it lingers solely as a reminiscence.

 Jeruk Pontianak with its distinguished quality

The once-prominent Jeruk Pontianak, with its distinguished quality, is now reduced to a mere name. Its price has ascended, its quality has dwindled, and the once-thriving orange groves now lie in neglect. Social losses have also ensued, exemplified by the racial riots in 1996 fueled by issues of unemployment.

Oranges no longer occupy the spotlight, as acknowledged by the former Regent of Sambas. A citrus farmer, Aseng, remains sanguine about the future by transitioning to rice farming.

Despite the passing of the orange era, the resilient Chinese descendants consistently exhibit the ability to transform challenges into opportunities. Drawing inspiration from them, we can cultivate a heightened Adversity Quotient (AQ) to surmount obstacles and transmute them into opportunities.

An immersive agrotourism experience in the enchanting orchard

In the orange groves of Sambas, particularly in Tebas, visitors are allowed to partake in an unforgettable orchard tourism experience. They can relish in the beauty of the orange orchard, explore every corner, and even indulge in tasting the oranges directly on the spot. The lush and refreshing ambiance of the orchard provides a profound experience for the visitors.

Furthermore, visitors also have the option to handpick their own oranges to take home. This process engages visitors in a hands-on activity, offering a sense of personal satisfaction.

After selecting the desired fruits, visitors can weigh them and make on-the-spot payments at a predetermined special price.

This concept allows visitors to directly experience the journey from the orchard to their hands.

Beyond being an enjoyable recreational activity, it also enables them to bring home high-quality oranges as souvenirs or for enjoyment at home. It is a holistic tourism experience, combining the beauty of nature with direct interaction and the enjoyment of fresh oranges.

(Masri Sareb Putra)

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