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Jakarta Post

Young NTT farmers pin hopes on microcredit program to expand their agriculture business

  • Hengky Ola Sura

    The Jakarta Post

Maumere   /   Sat, March 7, 2020   /   01:15 pm
Young NTT farmers pin hopes on microcredit program to expand their agriculture business Indonesia's 2018 Young Agripreneur ambassador Gestianus Sino, 36, at his organic produce farm in East Nusa Tenggara. Courtesy of Gestianus Sino. (Courtesy of Gestianus Sino/-)

Young farmers in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), most of whom have developed their land from square-one, are hoping to have access to the government’s first subsidized microcredit program (KUR).

The Agriculture Ministry has allocated Rp 1 trillion (US$69.7 million) in KUR to support agriculture and livestock development in the province. NTT agriculture agency head Yohanes Oktavianus said this was the first microcredit program for the province since its initiation in 2007.

“The allocation for each regency depends on their respective planning. They are welcome to take as much as needed because there are no limits,” Yohanes told The Jakarta Post on Thursday. "Farmer communities can learn about entrepreneurship and become independent by utilizing these funds." 

NTT farmer Gestianus Sino, who was the Indonesian Young Agripreneur Ambassador in 2018, said the provincial agriculture agency should closely monitor the fund’s disbursement. The 36-year-old farmer is known for developing integrated agricultural land for organic produce with tens of millions of rupiah in monthly income.

“I suggest these funds be given to farmers who are committed to developing their land,” he said.

Read also: Radical overhaul of agricultural data-gathering methods in Asia-Pacific needed: Experts

Gestianus went on to say that farmers have formed farming groups as part of the funding programs. They later used the money to procure tractors, drills and other farming equipment. However, they did not continue farming after spending the money.

Abidin, another young farmer from Megapanda village in Sikka regency, appreciated the government’s KUR program. He echoed Gestianus, saying the funds should go to the hard-working farmers instead of new farmers who only wanted money.

“I will certainly use it to develop my agriculture business,” Abidin said. “I’m currently only working on a rice field. With the microcredit, I will try to develop other plantations as well.”

According to Statistics Indonesia’s (BPS) 2018 Inter-Census Agricultural Survey, there are 27.6 million farmers in Indonesia. Around 17.7 million are 45 years old and above, while only 9.77 million are below 45 years of age.

However, the number of young farmers aged 25 and below has increased to 273,839 farmers from only 184,734 in 2013. (eyc)