Indonesia: Reshaping the debate on small-scale farmers

Sixteen learning network members from Africa, Latin America and Asia came together to share insights, challenge each other and test assumptions made on issues that either foster or impede the agency of small producers as part of The Global Learning Network of a joint IIED/Hivos Knowledge programme on Small producers’ agency in globalised markets’. The group held its third and last meeting in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia between 13-17 February. It was hosted and organized by Dr. Ronnie S. Natawidjaja, Chairman of the Masters of Agricultural Economics Programmme, Faculty of Agriculture, Padjadjaran University.

The team visited three different types of local cooperatives and farmers’ groups during the workshop. The visits provided them with opportunities to meet with  small-scale farmers and also with intermediary companies procuring produce from the farmers for supermarkets through value chains. The experiences of the various international learning group members provided for insightful discussions with the farmers on the challenges they faced in Indonesia in engaging with markets and also with their local governments.

The Learning Network members also participated in an international conference organized by Padjadjaran University (UNPAD), which discussed different models for engaging with small producers. The models involving tripartite agreements between the university, businesses and small producers provided much fodder for the discussions on the agency of small producers and the role of intermediaries in linking producers to export and super markets in Indonesia. We will soon be publishing a report on this.   

The conference, which was attended by students, faculty, businesses, services providers and academia, was opened by Indonesia’s Deputy Minister of state for Trade and Industries who highlighted the need for the small producers to keep pace with  changing consumer demands in  urban areas.

The learning network members, academics, practitioners and representatives of farmers’ organizations and businesses, brought a diverse range of perspectives from the research they had undertaken during the past year in their respective countries. Research previously carried out, including a paper looking at some of the dilemmas facing small producers, and a paper on small-scale farming and youth, complemented the discussion, as did a synthesis of a series of seminars held in Europe during the last two years.

Three years of research, debates and field visits were processed and synthesized in a writeshop. This research will soon be published in the form of series of publications. Three regional reports from Latin America, Africa and Asia and a short video of interesting insights from the provocations will also soon be available.

This guest blog was written by Bishwadeep Ghose, Hivos' Knowledge Officer.

Find out more about the Small Producer Agency programme.

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