Resource Potential Of Snake Fruit (Salacca zalacca var Amboinensis) And Canary (Canarium Amboinense) In The Life Of Seram Island Society, Moluccas


Marcus J. Pattinama1*), Aryanto Boreel1), Jane K. J. Laisina1), and Handy E.P. Leimena2)

1) Faculty of Agriculture, Pattimura University, Ambon, Indonesia

2) Faculty of Science, Pattimura University, Ambon, Indonesia

*) Corresponding



AbstractStrategic issues in this research are food security and poverty alleviation in the life of society in Ceram island who called themselves Alune People and Wemale People. They stated that snake plant and canary are endemic and native plants in this region. This is because both of these commodities have been around since ancient times can not be separated in their lives and  cultures. Thus the potential of the plant needs to be known for the economic development of this region, but also the tradition of community life should be studied in relation to both commodities through traced study in ethnobotany. Found in the field in addition to the ivory-colored snake fruit fruits, is also red snake fruit. The issue of food security and poverty alleviation can then be solved by strengthening the development of agribusiness basis of snake fruit and canary, where the idea is an effort to strengthen the bargaining position of the society in Ceram Island in Maluku where traditional farming systems are still being practiced. This means that this two commodities is growing through the mediation of the animals in the forest and there is no action by human cultivation. Snake fruit commodity in Ceram island has been established by the Decree of the Minister of Agriculture republic of Indonesia in 2003 as National Superior variety, but the fact is that the development of the cultivation is poor  and production  could not be relied upon as an industrial raw material. The objectives of this research was to make both commodities as superior commodities which have economic added-value that deserved by Ceram communities.

Keywords—food security, snakefruits, canary, seram island



Society as dynamic social problems continue to be influenced by both external and internal factors . Case study in ceram island tried to present how  resistanc of indigineous people (Alune and Wemale People ) reacts to enclose  various external influences, starting with the presence of migrants from Java island in 1954 at Kairatu . On the other hand, Ceram people feel threatened because their property right to their land  had been deprived due to geopolitical issues that are not necessarily well understood by neither the migrants nor by the Ceram people. Later on, the presence of forest exploitation by logging companies and plywood mills . Are there benefits to Ceram people ? They have not been able to work in this industrial sector, and eventually  ceram people become isolated and inferior.

Understanding society and solving social problems is not a simple concept . This means that participation of universities as Unpatti is needed to give more significantly contribution through  research and community service  that is well planned and aplicable.

Ceram people who live in the mountains have abundant natural resources such as canary and snake fruit commodities.  Both of these plants grow wild in the forest. Although in 2003 the Ministry of Agriculture Republic of Indonesia has been given an official certificate to “Salak Riring” as national superior variety, however what does it mean to them? if it does not provide a significant economic impact. All Ceram people have a dream that when canary and snake fruit became famous for having a distinctive flavor with good packaging. Pillar agribusiness from upstream to downstream must be built to ensure the stock of market demand, good product quality and guarantee of an open market for their products.  The emergence of supermarkets in Ambon city and soon will be reaching Ceram island is an economic opportunity that  must be anticipated. It will be linked to the concept and model of community empowerment that should be pursued seriously.



                Recently multidisciplinary research is needed to solve many environmental problems which intersect with social problems. Issues that has not been completely addressed until now are the problems of poverty and food security. Both of these issues will greatly affect the pattern of environmental management in both rural and urban areas.  The objectives of this research was to find a package of technologies that able to improve the productivity and product quality, such as the appropriate technologies to unshelled canary fruit  and how to make snake fruit commodity towards snake fruit chips industry.  Then build agribusiness pillar of canary and snake fruit  that start by managing the upstream production of raw materials as well as setting up downstream  with the post-harvest technologies based on domestic industry.

This study was expected to provide benefits for building families economic and poverty alleviation. In addition it will also provide reinforcement to the concept of food security in the community so that snake fruit and canary can provide energy to the community to sustainthe level of food sufficiency.

I.     methods

This research is a review of participatory acts (participatory action research). In this case, this research used a systemic approach with focused discussion, field observation and in-depth interviews. Questionnaire instruments were used in the survey.  Focussed discussions was conducted by interviewing government officials , traditional leaders and key respondents in each  kinship group.  This was done to look for information related to customs and land tenure which generally not certified yet customarily recognized as well as  social economic  capitals which are  still subsistence. Aspects being observed this research were Ethnobotany, Culture techniques  (Land Systems , Plant Cultivation , Agroclimate ) and  Post Harvest Technology. Observations were also done on Economic and Social aspects and  data collection of  the potencial of commodities

II.     data analyses and interpretation

These five research areas (Uweth , Buria , Riring , Rumahsoal and Lohiasapalewa villages)  included in the District  Taniwel, West Seram Regency, Maluku Province. Located in the mainland and only separated by a river and mountains. The research area is  located in isolated mountainous areas.





Figure 1. Map of Moluccas; Field Study Seram Island


Accesibility of a region is  affected the region development significantly, where regions with high levels of accessibility has a faster rate of development compare to  the region with lower accessibility. Accessibility to the research site is difficult since it should be reach by walking in long distance, except for Uweth village which located on the coast within 3 ( three ) Km to the capital of the Taniwel District.

Population in the study area are mostly natives of the Alune tribe. Data of  registered population in 2011, with a population density of 18.98 people per km2.





Number of population





























Based on the observed data in the field in the village monograph, the percentage of the working age population in the Buria village showed the highest number followed by Riring, Uweth , Rumahsoal and Lohiasapalewa villages . The population of productive age in the study area is very large , however it can not be denied that not all residents of this age are working or have a job . Education of the head of family in the region dominated by the primary school level . Agriculture is the main livelihood of the population in the study area , while the non-agricultural sector occupied only by a small portion of the population in the region (Pattinama, dkk, 2013).

Social relations in the society is still well established, it could be seen from the culture of helping each other, which is still maintained until now. Traditional institutions in the form of local knowledge in the study area which are still carried from generation to generation is environmental ”SASI”. In practice, the opening of SASI by farmers is marked by a splash of water fortified with prayers by religious leaders ( pastors ) with rules that have been agreed institutionaly. Thus the people in the study area generally have awareness of and benefit from the natural resources available. This does not mean that society / the locals closed to the presence of technology or changes comes from outside, but the people believe the natural environment should be maintained  for the sustainability of  biological resources for future generations (Pattinama, 2007)

                Canary is one of native commodity in Maluku province with huge potency. The problems encountered today is the unavailability of sufficient data to describe the distribution of  its potential in the Maluku . This research was conducted as  an effort to develop a  canary potential in a few villages in the mountainous region in the district of Taniwel, West Seram  Regency.

Data collection of canary potential  was done by purposive sampling based on the distribution of canary found at the reseacrh sites.  Lines of observations was made and adjusted to the local topography . In those lines of observations  a plot size of 20 meters x 20 meters was made and the dimensions of canary tree including diameter and height were measured and recorded.

Based on the results of an inventory conducted at the research site, it was found that  the most canaries tree was found in Riring village as many as 81 trees/ha, followed by 57trees/ha in  Uweth village.  Distribution of the least canary trees was found in the village of Rumahsoal as much as 23 trees / ha. Distribution of tree diameter measured on research site ranged from 11.5 cm to 134.4 cm and the height of tree without branches can reach 30 meters. The calculation of the volume of canary trees showed that volume of tree without branches ranged from 36.621 m3/ha to 298.882 m3/ha. Data inventory of potential locations of canary trees in the study area was presented in Table 2.





Number of Tree (N/ha)










11,5 – 122,5

10 – 30,4





20 – 105

9 – 25





21,5 – 63,5

5,5 – 12,6





54,2 – 149,8

7,3 – 22,5





42,5 – 134,4

10,6 – 22,7


*) Tree volume without branches.

It had been shown in table 2 that the canary trees found  in research areas  have a large  size, so that the utilization of timber and fruit will be very valuable (Djandjouma, dkk, 2006). However,  the sustainability of results and continuity of production should be maintained , through silvicultural measures in accordance with the carrying capacity of the land.


         (a)                                                        (b)

Figures 2. Canary (a) and Snake Fruit (b)

Snake fruit is one of essential commodity for mountain communities in the study areas. Data collection of snake fruit potency was collected using purposive sampling by considering the presence of plant distribution at the study site. In the areas where snake fruit tree were found Lae plots of 20 meters x 20 meters or 400 m2 was made and observations was done on the trees.

From the results of the inventory of snake fruit in research area, the highest number of trees of 293 clumps was found in Rumahsoal village , followed by  225 clumps in  Buria village. The lowest number of trees of 48 clumps was found in Lohiasapalewa village  in Uweth village snake fruit trees were not found. When viewed from the average number of clumps per hectare , Riring village had the highest number which was 3450 and 4000 clumps / ha , followed by Rumahsoal village as  many as 1465  clumps / ha . Lowest number of clumps found in the village of Lohiasapalewa  which was 415 clumps/ha . Inventory data of potency of snake fruit tree at the study site is shown in Table 3 (Pattinama, dkk. 2012)





Number of Tree


Number of Clumps per Plot*)

Average Number of Clumps










20 – 100





1 – 79





42 – 73




138**); 160***)

138**; 160***)

3450**); 4000***)

*) Size of sample plot (20 x 20) m, **) Red Snake Fruit, ***) Ivory Snake fruit

Potency of snake fruit tree in Lohiasapalewa village was low due to the distribution of plants which was very few , and only owned by a few farmers which were parents or ancestral heritage. On the other hand, most people have not been interested in planting and cultivating of  snake fruit crop (Sudaryono, 1993).

III.     Conclusion

Ceram People in inland of Ceram island is a shifting  land communities, who are forest gatherers, living isolated and completely depend on nature. Nature is a laboratory of their lives in the past ,  present and in the future .

Ceram people living in harmony with nature . Knowledge to manage environment was carried on from generation to generation by verbal description only.  Obedience to nature form point of view that the universe is something which gave inspiration to deliver the concept of holistic and concept of totality in managing resources and their interactions with other living things. That means that the whole concept of the life space that mountain , beach and the sea are inseparable . This understanding begins with their very strong views to the concept of mountain and wate , which deliver  the concept of an orderly way of life and to continue to be believed from one generation to the next.

From long fallow cultivation, it appears that they have the wisdom to manage natural resources as a source of food for life.  The diet of Ceram people describe that they are relatively not lack of food . Even the type of food consumed  have  high carbohydrate (sago) , protein ( pork , Kusu , deer , shrimp and fish ) as well as other vitamins ( vegetables) .

If the measure of poverty used is based on the ability to fulfill family food consumption , then the ceram people is not included in the category of the poor. Poverty of Ceram people  as a autcton resident and so did other alokton population residing on the island of Seram, is a  feeling of isolated due to  mechanisms , systems , and regional and national government policies which in turn makes them shackled in that isolation . Yet the reality on the field proves both autocton and alocton  residents are people who are not isolated , because they are always in touch with the outsider because of the trade . For example, they can communicate regularly with inter-island traders and other migrants who came freely use sea transportation.

So the traditional economic pillars of Ceram people is relatively strong and indigenous kinship system is still maintained because of their orientation to the cosmology world. Ceram island in the shape of a woman body and all of her organs is representatived by territory which is clearly divided and controlled by each kinship . That way it will ensure the orderly of their lives for the sake of exhausting work to the life of  the island called Ceram . Obedience to the tradition because there is a strong accord that is the orientation of the whole universe and not partial so all must be protected simultaneously and at the same time also constructed system of norms to regulate the whole order of life . Therefore, the traditional economic pillars of Ceram people  increasingly strengthened so that they become obedient to the their customs.


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[6]     M.J. Pattinama, A. Boreel, H.E.P. Leimena, and J.K.J. Laisina, Pengembangan Agribisnis Komoditas Kenari (Canarium amboinense) dan Salak (Salacca zalacca var Amboinensis) Sebagai Upaya Memantapkan Posisi Tawar Ekonomi Serta Memperkuat Ketahanan Pangan Bagi Masyarakat Wilayah Pegunungan di Maluku. Laporan Penelitian Penprinas MP3EI. 2013.


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