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Jakarta Post

Jembrana cacao farmers strive toward sustainability

  • Desy Nurhayati

    The Jakarta Post

Denpasar   /   Tue, January 28, 2014   /  10:43 am

Cacao farmers in Jembrana regency have successfully paved their way toward sustainable agriculture, thanks to strong support from an NGO, the local administration and the private sector.

Since 2011, the Denpasar-based NGO Kalimajari Foundation and BWI (Business Watch Indonesia) have been helping the farmers start building a more sustainable agriculture system. The program, conducted with local cooperative Kerta Semaya Samaniya, seeks to help the farmers obtain certification for the commodity. This program involves 1,588 farmers from 22 subak (Balinese farming system) groups in four districts in Jembrana.

Agung Widiastuti, director of Kalimajari Foundation, explained that the program aimed to enable Indonesian cacao products to penetrate the global market, which requires sustainability aspects to be fulfilled.

'€œThe cacao products from these farmers have been internationally certified. This is the first program in Indonesia that put a cooperative, Kerta Samaya Samaniya, as the certificate holder,'€ she said.

She said limited human resources and funding, as well as changing the farmers'€™ mindset to gradually improve their practices to incorporate sustainability, were the biggest challenges in the program.

As a result, production has increased from 1.3 to 1.5 kilograms of wet cacao beans per tree, to 1.6 to 2 kg.

CSR programs initiated by companies including Bank Indonesia and Indonesia Exim Bank, have further fueled the success of this program. The companies provide solar dryer and cacao tester machines. The local administration has also provided some assistance to help the farmers gain premium prices for their crop.

'€œThe real impact is that the supply chain becomes simpler, so the farmers can sell their product at higher prices. The crops are sold collectively by the subak organizations to help the farmers have a stronger bargaining position,'€ Widiastuti said.

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