Commentary: Why Indonesian farmers may become extinct in about 40 years

Commentary Why Indonesian farmers may become extinct in about 40

JAKARTA: It is a daring and considerably miserable prediction: That by 2063, the Indonesian farmer will disappear as a occupation.

This based on the National Development Planning Agency of Indonesia (Bappenas).

Their projection bears out the sluggish decline of staff in the agricultural sector.

Bappenas knowledge reveals that the proportion of Indonesian staff in the agricultural sector reached 65.8 per cent in 1976.

However, in 2019 it decreased considerably to solely 28 per cent.

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Part of this decline might be attributed to agricultural sector staff switching professions to different sectors, particularly to providers. In 1976, service sector staff accounted for 23.57 per cent and this elevated to 48.91 per cent in 2019.

Likewise, the proportion of staff in the commercial sector elevated to 22.45 per cent in 2019 from the earlier 8.86 % in 1976.

Aside from the shifting workforce, Bappenas additionally attributes the decline in the variety of staff in the agricultural sector with the lowering variety of agricultural land.

In 2013, agricultural land reached 7.75 million hectares, however in 2019 it decreased to 7.45 million hectares. One of the driving elements is land use change as a result of speedy urbanisation.

(*40*)Palm oil plantation in North Sumatra

A farmer harvests palm fruits at a palm plantation in Indonesia’s North Sumatra province. (Photo: Reuters/Roni Bintang)

Whereas in 2045 the inhabitants dwelling in city areas is estimated to extend to achieve 67.1 per cent. Based on these tendencies, the farming occupation is underneath heavy threat of disappearing, mentioned Acting Director at Bappenas, Mia Amalia.


For years, farmers relied closely on the climate for a great harvest. For them, a crop failure could be devastating – not solely wiping out their incomes but additionally doubtlessly placing them and their households in hunger.

With elevated modifications in local weather, an unpredictable harvest cycle and the pest assaults have added to the issues farmers have confronted.

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Another dilemma for farmers occurs when their very own youngsters become educated, robbing them of successors. Children despatched to town to pursue a great schooling are very reluctant to return to the village and tackle their dad and mom’ agricultural companies.

Children who go to highschool are anticipated to become “someone” who will take away their households from poverty in the agricultural sector. Fewer younger individuals decide farming.

Only 23 per cent of the nation’s 14.2 million individuals underneath the age of 24 labored in agriculture, forestry or fishery based on knowledge from the National Labour Force.

Those left to battle in the agricultural sector are those that have little schooling and nothing else to do. And this could result in a substandard high quality of farming.

Oil palm smallholders, for instance, are likely to get a a lot decrease promoting value than palm oil from corporate-owned plantations who naturally have higher yield as a result of they’ve refined plantation expertise and a extremely scheduled upkeep system.

Smallholders with out these advantages are on the mercy of middlemen who set costs.


Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS) knowledge till February 2017 reveals that the full inhabitants working in the agricultural sector is just 39.68 million individuals or 31.86 per cent of the full working inhabitants in Indonesia.

Unfortunately, most of those persons are older. Even from current knowledge, solely 15.38 % of farmers are productive sufficient to fulfill all nationwide meals wants. According to the data of the Ministry of Agriculture (Kementan), agricultural land has shrunk by 100,000 ha a yr, with 80 per cent occurring in meals manufacturing centres.

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The lack of innovation in the agricultural sector is a chief driver, leaving many second-generation farmers to see the agricultural sector as a much less engaging and fewer promising sector.

(*40*)A farmer cuts harvested rice stalks from a paddy in Indonesia's Aceh province. The

A farmer cuts harvested rice stalks from a paddy in Indonesia’s Aceh province. The nation’s president has unveiled to develop estates 10 occasions the scale of Singapore to assist the world’s fourth-most populous nation meet its meals wants. (Photo: AFP/CHAIDEER MAHYUDDIN)

This is why there may be an pressing must speed up innovation and expertise switch in the agricultural sector by facilitating synergies amongst events, together with universities, agricultural start-ups, agricultural analysis institutes, associated authorities, and others.

The mixture of agricultural human useful resource growth insurance policies and a mixture of agricultural expertise improvements can improve high quality, productiveness and market alternatives, and make the agricultural sector much more engaging in the eyes of the second era of farmers.

The Asian Development Bank has recommended growing funding in agriculture by modernising meals methods, getting correct infrastructure for rural communities, creating higher cell-phone towers, cold-chain amenities and utilizing superior applied sciences to mitigate in opposition to pests and different pure disasters.


There should even be new ways in which farmers can work with buyers straight, thereby reducing out the intermediary. In Indonesia, the agricultural financial construction locations farmers on the backside of the chain.

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The majority of farmers who dwell in rural areas can not straight promote their merchandise to the market, so farmers must promote them to intermediaries or intermediary. The intermediary additionally varies, ranging from the village, sub-district, regency stage, to the large metropolis stage.

For instance, the worth of 1 kilogram of chilli on the farmer stage is IDR 10,000 (US$0.69), however available on the market in Jakarta it may be as much as IDR 60,000-80,000.

This additional entrenches the view amongst youthful farmers that they can’t afford a greater dwelling on these wages.

Yet, there are examples to indicate this could change for the higher. Agritech firms like TaniHub and Sayurbox, backed by tech titan Grab, work straight with farmers – they provide them loans, use expertise to trace their harvest to make sure as a lot as potential yields are steady (and don’t fluctuate) and supply them regular costs.

But these are small successes. There needs to be a a lot wider effort by the federal government to speculate in agriculture, notably as a result of demand for rice and different greens won’t go down anytime quickly.

Meanwhile, the necessity for meals will increase yearly as a result of the inhabitants of Indonesia is growing.

But with the sector experiencing a few of its largest challenges, will it be capable of feed sufficient individuals?

Ronny P Sasmita is a Senior Fellow for Indonesia Strategic and Economic Action Institution.


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