Two years ago, the Indonesian government and business leaders joined with global partners at the World Economic Forum on East Asia in Jakarta to launch the Partnership for Indonesia’s Sustainable Agriculture (PISAgro). Supported by the Forum’s New Vision for Agriculture initiative, this partnership has grown to engage over 20 organizations working to create sustainable growth and opportunities for farmers in Indonesia.

PISAgro aims to support the Indonesian government to address national food security by increasing agricultural production in a sustainable manner and improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. The organization’s eight commodity-based working groups work directly with farmers to improve their agriculture practices.

Last week, PISAgro hosted an anniversary celebration in Malang, East Java, Indonesia. Over 200 participants, representing government institutions, the private sector, NGOs, media and farmers from various places across Indonesia met to discuss how to align collaboration and partnerships for sustainable agricultural development.

In a panel discussion entitled “Aligning Partnership for Sustainable Agriculture”, Rusman Heriawan, Vice-Minister of Agriculture of Indonesia, stated: “By 2050, Indonesia’s population will reach up to 400 million people. There is a need for concerted efforts from all stakeholders to ensure that the commodities would be able to meet the domestic demand that has increased by 100% over the last 10 years.”

As part of its first anniversary celebration, PISAgro granted awards for the farmers who are most productive, have made innovative approach in their farming, and who are also willing to share their knowledge with their fellow farmers. Four farmers of four commodities – cocoa, dairy products, potatoes and rice – were granted the awards.

“I am grateful to receive this PISAgro award. Thanks to the training and assistance provided by PISAgro my fresh milk production has increased from 14 to 19 litres per day,” said Anton Didik Santoso, a dairy farmer from Surogalih Village, East Java.

A rice farmer from Pusakanagara Village, Subang, West Java added that thanks to guidance from PISAgro, he is able to produce 9.7 tonnes of grain per hectare, which is 1.2 tonnes higher than other farmers in the village.

Bayu Krisnamurthi, Vice-Minister of Trade of Indonesia, who was involved in the earlier days of PISAgro’s establishment stated: “PISAgro is unique and inspirational. They are able to align the stakeholders to share and translate their vision into workable business plans. PISAgro has the ability to transform common interests into action for sustainable agriculture in the country, and not merely lip service.”

My company, Sinar Mas, is an active partner in PISAgro and leads efforts to develop sustainable palm oil production for smallholder farmers. We have developed a new approach that has increased productivity from 2 tonnes to 5 tonnes per hectare while reducing carbon emissions by 20% through improved farming techniques and financing.

Together with other PISAgro partners working on rice, soy, potatoes, dairy, corn, coffee and cocoa, we are committed to working with farmers, civil society, government and other partners to ensure a sustainable future for Indonesian agriculture.

Author: Franky Widjaja is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Sinar Mas Agribusiness & Food, and is Co-Chair of the Partnership for Indonesia’s Sustainable Agriculture (PISAgro).

Image: A farmer works in a rice paddy in Indonesia REUTERS/Yusuf Ahmad