Fighting for the Welfare of Indonesian Farmers

National Farmers Day is the highest honor for the Indonesian peasants. However, there is still a lot of homework in the agricultural sector that needs to be solved after 61 years since National Farmers Day was initiated.

National Farmers Day.
The stipulation of National Farmers Day is the highest honor for the Indonesian peasants. However, there is still a lot of homework in the agricultural sector that needs to be solved 61 years since National Farmers Day was initiated.

ACTNews, JAKARTA – Soekarno, the first Indonesian President first established the National Farmers Day by issuing Presidential Decree No. 169/1963. This Presidential Decree was enacted to commemorate the issuance of Act No. 5/1960 on Agrarian Principles (UUPA) which mandates the implementation of agrarian reformation. So that, National Farmers Day becomes the highest glorification of the Indonesian peasants.

The agricultural sector also becomes the savior during crises caused by the pandemic. It was shown that when the Gross Domestic Income (GDP) of other sectors fell, the agricultural sector experienced positive growth of 16.24% in the second quarter of 2020 which was the beginning of the pandemic.

However, there is still a lot of homework in Indonesia's agricultural sector. Lukman Adam, a Researcher at the BKD Research Center of Indonesian People's Representative Council (DPR), citing from the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), that the average area of land controlled by agricultural households decreased from 1.1 hectares in 1963 to 0.8 hectares in 2003, and 0.5 hectares in 2018.

The number of peasant households also increased from 5.3 million households in 1963 to 13.2 million in 2003 and 15.8 million in 2018. “To support Indonesian peasants, many laws were issued to improve the lives of peasants, especially related to farmers’ problems in obtaining land, capital, production inputs, and others," Lukman wrote. However, Lukman added that some of these laws have not been able to solve the problem.

In addition, there is still a paradigm that makes farmers as objects to meet people's food needs and block inflation. This is what Darwin Darmawan, a doctoral student in political science at the University of Indonesia, said through his writings. “This is the source of agricultural problems in Indonesia. Our paradigm is wrong because it makes farmers just objects for food availability,” explained Darwin. 

Illustration. Agriculture becomes a reliable sector that can survive during the pandemic (ACTVNews/Reza Mardhani)

In addition, there is still a paradigm that makes farmers as objects to meet people's food needs and block inflation. As Darwin Darmawan, a doctoral student in political science at the University of Indonesia said through his writings, “This is the source of agricultural problems in Indonesia. Our paradigm is wrong by making the farmers as the objects for food availability,” explained Darwin.

According to Darwin, the agrarian vision needs to be the focus of the government policy. Also, to overcome the food shortage issue, a shift of paradigm in agricultural development is needed.

"From simply making farmers as the object of food security into a paradigm that gives farmers ample space to create food security, ecological sustainability, and the welfare of farmers," said Darwin.

The effort is also carried out by Global Wakaf-ACT through Productive Agricultural Waqf program. To keep the food sovereignty, Global Wakaf-ACT helps peasants with business capital and mentoring assistance. Global Wakaf-ACT intervened in three aspects, namely agricultural technology, working capital, and harvest absorption by Global Waqf-ACT.

"Agricultural technology intervention aims to increase production and working capital for production needs including buying fertilizer and seeds. Thirdly, we also guarantee the purchase of grain at a price that is favorable for farmers," said Wahyu Nur Alim from the Global Wakaf-ACT Team.

In addition, the farmers are also given ACT Bio nutrients as fertilizer. “With ACT’s Bio nutrition, we try to make all of the farmland organics without chemical fertilizers and pesticides. We hope that ACT's Bio nutrition can improve the farmers’ harvest quality," explained Wahyu. Until now, Productive Agricultural Waqf program has greeted more than 6,600 farm workers in 21 cities and regencies throughout Indonesia.[]