Indonesian president Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has urged businesses to partner with two million independent farmers by 2023 to improve their productivity, as the country seeks to improve its farmers’ welfare and food security.
The president’s request came after the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) reported that it had helped one million independent farmers through partnerships with business entities.
These partnerships reportedly helped increase farmers’ productivity by 40 per cent to 76 per cent and revenue by 50 per cent to 200 per cent.
“I believe Kadin can achieve this target,” Jokowi told a virtual event on November 18. “I really hope a collaborative, inclusive business model can prop up the food sector as a new economic driver that will create more jobs and become a source of welfare for Indonesians.”
Developing the food sector will require a new approach that can make the production process more efficient, improve food quality at an affordable price, preserve the environment and improve the farmer welfare, the president added.
The economic downturn induced by the Covid-19 pandemic caused farmers’ terms of trade (NTP) to fall to 99.47 in May, with a figure under 100 suggesting farmers are suffering a deficit. It bounced back to 102.25 last month.
The government has also been working to secure food supplies amid pandemic-induced disruption on supply chains.
At least 31 provinces reported garlic shortages in April, just a month after the first Covid-19 cases were discovered in the country. Many provinces also reported shortages of other staple foods like sugar, chilli and chicken eggs, according to Jokowi at the time.
Kadin reported that it was partnering with public-private cooperation platform the Partnership for Indonesia’s Sustainable Agriculture (PISAgro) to work with the one million farmers.
Most are cocoa farmers, followed by corn, rice, palm oil, cattle and coffee farmers, according to Franky Oesman Widjaja, the deputy chairman of agribusiness, food and forestry at Kadin.
He said: “The mentoring was successful because we used the inclusive closed-loop module, which covers training, access to good seeds, good agricultural practices, access to financing, purchase guarantee by the mentor companies and literacy on finance and technology.”
The inclusive closed loop is a partnership scheme that encompasses both the upstream and downstream parts of the agriculture business.
Kadin has run a pilot project based on the inclusive closed-loop system with chilli farms.
THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK