Co-Chair PISAgro, Franky Oesman Widjaja reminds us over the years of efforts to improve the wellbeing of smallholder farmers. "The challenges remain," he said.
Badan Pusat Statistik (Statistics Indonesia) in 2016—or its latest yearly report on crop and plant production—noted that the productivity of drying maize by subround in 2015 was 5,178 tonnes per hectare. The number increased by 4.52% (year-on-year).
At the fields full of soybeans, Statistics Indonesia reported that the productivity by subround in 2015 was 1,568 tonnes per hectare. The number increased from 1,551 tonnes per hectare in 2016.
But does that, at the same time, indicate the smallholder farmers are more productive and, eventually, more prosperous?
"In Indonesia, the productivity of millions smallholder farmers is still very low," said Franky Widjaja. The two reasons behind the fairly low productivity—among other things—are the lack of discipline and access to good agriculture practices.
Therefore, Franky continues, "PISAgro must put more efforts and focus to handhold the farmers."
Since being established in 2012, PISAgro has engaged over 230,000 farmers directly. One of them is Astuti, a smallholder cacao farmer. "We gained a lot of knowledge and were taught various skills," Astuti started sharing her thoughts on PISAgro's handhold. The various skills she mentioned before were pruning techniques, sanitation, pest control and proper fertillizer application.
The handhold of PISAgro, said Astuti, "resulted in higher yields and quality of cacao." She then smiles, while her right hand still, from the beginning of the conversation, holding on to a cacao tree branch.
From a video as follows, we can learn more from Astuti and the handhold of PISAgro.