The country of Indonesia in southeastern Asia is made up of 17,000 of islands. It is home to over 261 million people, making it the world’s fourth most populous country. Lying on both sides of the equator, Indonesia is a tropical country with two main seasons: wet and dry. The country is rich in biodiversity, and generates a wide range of crops and agricultural products, including: rice, sugarcane, maize, cassava, tropical fruits, palm oil, palm kernel, rubber, cocoa, tea, tobacco and a variety of spices. On average there are two harvests annually, but in some irrigated areas it is possible to produce three crops per year. In 2016, agriculture contributed 13.95 percent of GDP (Gross Domestic Product); around 32 percent of the total population is employed in this sector. The majority of those involved in agriculture are smallholder farmers, generally working an area of land of less than one hectare and typically involved in horticulture and growing rice and maize. About 15 percent of the total agricultural area is given over to large plantations which cultivate crops for export. Nonetheless, Indonesia is a net importer of grains, fruit and vegetables, and livestock produce.
Challenges for agriculture in Indonesia
Providing small and marginal farmers in Indonesia with relevant knowledge and training in current agronomic practice may help them towards improving grain and seed production, but they undoubtedly face a range of obstacles which require a range of solutions: limited access to agricultural technologies and innovations, such as good quality seed, mechanization and post-harvest handling and equipment, increases the likelihood of reduced yields and post-harvest loss, resulting in a reduced income. Access to transportation of goods and infrastructure may be problematic, and fluctuating prices and increased pressure on land-use create uncertainty and instability for farmers.
Despite the positive impact of specific policy decisions and other factors in the decade between 2007 and 2016, food security remains a crucial issue in Indonesia. The country is increasingly at risk from environmental and climate-related hazards, which threaten crops and reduce access to clean water. Prices for food staples in the domestic market are high and childhood malnutrition is a real cause for concern.
Work of Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture in Indonesia
The Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA) aims to create value for resource-poor small farmers in Indonesia through innovation in sustainable agriculture and the activation of value chains. Farmers are introduced to new, affordable agricultural technology and trained in their use, based on local need. Currently, SFSA is conducting a pilot phase for the Farmers’ Hub Model in Indonesia with the objectives of:
Improving agricultural production in the selected regions of Indonesia
Increasing smallholder income and productivity
Setting a sustainable model of production and commercialization for farmer hub vendors
Developing a model with a full range of services for smallholder needs in Indonesia
Expanding the use of good national and international practices in the production, distribution and commercialization of quality seeds, and relevant agricultural advices on choice of seeds, production dates and follow up of cultures.