Saharuddin: Farmers Have No Choice but to Get into Debts

Saharuddin (39) grows rice in a one-hectare land. Sadly, he has been severely constrained by lack of funds. To keep cultivating his land, Saharuddin chose to go into debt even though he knew it would be burdensome for him later on.

Saharuddin front of the land he was working on. (ACTNews)

ACTNews, PINRANG - Saharuddin (39) admitted that, since elementary school, he has been familiar with rice fields and rice farming. To this day, he has relied on agriculture to support his family. Every day, he works as a farm worker in a one-hectare rice field in Mattiro Ade Village, Patampanua District, Pinrang Regency.

To cultivate such an area of ​​land, Saharuddin needs 300 kilograms of Urea fertilizer and 200 kilograms of Phonska fertilizer. Apart from that, he needs to spend IDR 5,000,000 for the tractor and agricultural chemicals. With such costs that he needs to bear, he has no choice but to take loans from banks.

"To keep farming, I have no choice but to owe IDR 25 million to the bank. I repay the loan in installments of IDR 1 million in principal, plus 2.5% interest paid after harvest. My crop is harvested every four months,” said Saharuddin to Aksi Cepat Tanggap (ACT) South Sulawesi and Masyarakat Relawan Indonesia (MRI) Pinrang on Tuesday (8/18).

He just wants to optimally harvest his crop, but the only way for him to finance his agriculture is by taking loans even though he knows that it will burden him later on.

"It’s very burdensome, but what else can we do? Whether we like it or not, we are forced to borrow money from the bank. It gets even more burdensome if we suffer crop failure or rat infestation. At times, I don’t even have money to buy fertilizers,” explained Saharuddin.

Saharuddin still has to support his family that includes two teenagers who are still in school. Due to the recurring financial problem, Saharuddin hoped for interest-free financial assistance.

Responding to the problem that is often faced by farmers, Global Wakaf - ACT initiated the Waqf for Micro Business Capital on Wednesday (8/19). Waqf for Micro Business Capital will support small business actors, including farmers, by providing capital to free them from debts and usury. It is hoped that the blessing of waqf covers both the food production and transactions.

On the basis of Qard Al-Hasan system, Waqf for Micro Business Capital plays a role in strengthening the commitment of business owners so that they will always be determined in developing their business. Empowerment is fundamental to reducing poverty, "said Jajang Fadli Manager of Global Wakaf - ACT.

Jajang also invited the community to support the farmers.  "It's not something new that we often hear stories about how many farmers who are burdened by loans. We hope, with the spirit of generosity, we can support farmers as food producers and guardians of the country," hoped Jajang. []