Farmer organization as the backbone of agro-sustainability

PISAgro News, May 2017, Issue No 15, pp. 2-4

By Fitrian ArdiansyahIndonesia country director of IDH-Sustainable Trade Initiative

Original link:’16.pdf

Nestle Farmers.jpg
IDH supported Nestle’s coffee farmers through Nescafe Better Farming Practices Program

Given the fact that most of the 40 million workers in the agriculture sector are small farmers, and they are facing with recurrent challenges of low levels of productivity and profitability due to a lack of access to market and financing, the notion of strengthening farmer organizations has become imperative.

Reaching sustainable agriculture goals, comprising improved productivity, protection of the surrounding ecosystems and ensured welfare of farmers, is challenging unless farmers’ capacity and knowledge on good agricultural practices are improved. Such improvement is difficult to be facilitated without strong farmer organizations.

IDH-Sustainable Trade Initiative, in collaboration with partners, believe that innovations in supply chain sustainability require professional farming practices. Our approaches and pilots have shown that such farming practices can only be applied if strong farmer organizations are at the heart of our sustainable business model and values.

In our coffee program, with PT Asal Jaya(1) in Malang for example, efforts to strengthen farmer organizations is considered as a key intervention. These efforts focus on providing institutional support that will lead to the development of Sustainable Agriculture Business Cluster (SABC).

When different farmer organizations are aggregated further into an SABC, they will be perceived to be having an economic of scale. Such scale would help them access finance from financial institutions (FIs). They can also easily sell coffee bean in a bulk way with a relatively better price and as trade-off, receive good agriculture practices (GAPs) and good management practices (GMPs) including accounting system literacy from the company and organizations like IDH.

This type of aggregated farmer organizations would provide a greater opportunity for farmers to get support from off-takers or other organizations to secure legal entity over their lands. Off-takers would see an increased credibility of such organizations and reduced risks in investing in these farmers. As many have known, without legal entity, farmers would have difficulty in getting a deal or financial support from banks.

The presence of good farmer organizations with the support of off-takers and other organizations can help farmers gradually demonstrate that they can improve or have improved their practices shown by results over a particular period. In a good farmer organization, documentation of farming process and accounting system is usually the norm.

Strengthening farmer organizations, nevertheless, is not an easy task. Often farmers are unwilling to be grouped in an organization such as a cooperative. Innovation or slightly different approach is sometime required.

As an example, in our palm oil program in North Sumatra, working with a state-owned company(2), a different model for farmer organizations has been introduced to support farmers to achieve Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification. The difference is that the organizations still consist of farmer groups (kelompok petani) but managed by traders.

This slightly different approach is chosen due to the fact that traders have many farmers under their wings (approximately several hundreds) and this has been perceived as a way to scale up the coverage of farmers in a sustainable supply chain of palm oil. In addition, with traders’ involvement and their staff in supporting farmers, they can also be seen as some forms of extension services, not only connecting farmers to the supply chain but also providing concrete support in forms of GAPs.

A similar approach has been done with Asian Agri(3) in Jambi, in which farmer organizations are supported through traders. In this case, traders are trained so that they can further help and reach out farmers with GAPs and GMPs. With the increased capacity of traders, they also are gradually equipped with good capacity in taking bigger responsibility in this sustainable supply chain.

A traditional type of farmer organizations such as cooperatives (e.g. Koperasi Unit Desa or KUD), nevertheless, is still crucial since KUD or a similar organization exist in almost every kabupaten (district) in Indonesia. For this reason, IDH also works with different corporate partners to show that strengthening KUD can bring about better benefit for farmers. The recent initiative in South Sumatra with IndoAgri London Sumatra shows that KUD can also be a good platform for palm oil farmers to achieve RSPO certification.

Farmer organizations and aggregation or clustering, to a large extent, can help farmers to increase their economic scale. Such “clustering”, however, needs to be done with tailor-made services, so that choices are also created for farmers since different types of farmers may require a different type of approaches and clusters.

One key lesson-learned in establishing such cluster is, at least, a principle of open and transparent farmer organizations should be upheld. This is critical so small farmers will see such organizations as a fair and just platform and can support their agenda of improved productivity and sustainability – not only the agenda of off-takers or traders.

The presence of strong and credible farmer organizations will not only provide a vehicle for improved productivity for farmers in a relatively scalable level, but also can be used to support farmers in promoting the agenda of environmental protection in a significant way.

Encroachment and conversion of forests and peat – and cultivating using fires – have been perceived as challenging issues when it comes to small farmers and deforestation and environmental protection. A good farmer organization can, to some extent, be an umbrella that develop a treaty or agreement for conservation of the remaining or surrounding forest and peat, equipped further with a good plan, investment and monitoring system.

Examples of fire-free villages – a joint-work between companies and villages to address forest and land fires across Indonesia – can be used to show that with an organization of villagers or farmers, actions to address (prevent or mitigate) fires are much easier to apply. Without clear farmer or villager organizations, a company, donor agency or government would have difficulty in pushing the agenda of fire prevention or other environmental protection.

In brief, the presence of strong, credible and accountable farmer organizations has become a necessity in sustainable agriculture. Such organizations would help farmers to develop a good business case at farmer level, improved provision of service delivery or extension services, and increase access to adequate and sufficient finance.

The immediate next step, as often the case, is to replicate, magnify and scale up models of good farmer organizations. PISAgro and its members, in this case, have the opportunity to transform such models into larger applicable platforms across Indonesia and in variety of commodities.


  1. The IDH’s work with PT Asal Jaya is entitled The Ecosystem Chain Scale in a Sustainable Coffee Smallholder Business in East Java. The period of work is between January 2016 to December 2020, targeting 15,000 farmers. Currently, around 3,400 farmers are part of the program. The focus of the program is to support farmer organizations, GAP and GMP practices, and farmers driven research.
  2. The work is with PTPN 3 with approximately 600 farmers to be supported but 59 will be certified soon under RSPO.
  3. The initial target of the work with Asian Agri is to support 10,000 farmers and now 6,000 farmers (around 30,000 ha) are part of the program. The program focuses interventions that can be categorized as “beyond certification” approach (not only aiming to achieve certification).

Feeding nation while protecting environment

The Jakarta Post, Thursday, 5 January 2017,

By Fitrian ArdiansyahIndonesia country director of IDH-Sustainable Trade Initiative

Original link:

Farmer works cultivating rice in the field (Antara/Berto, as shown in the Jakarta Post)

The year 2016 has just ended, but a question remains. Will countries, including Indonesia, be able to supply food for their growing populations, taking into account the constraints of our limited natural resources?

The global demand for food, fiber and fuel is on the rise. This demand needs to be matched while we also need to ensure that our resources, landscape and ecosystems will be sustainably managed for the long term. Several projections, including from the Directorate General of Food Crops in 2013, for example, reveal that Indonesia’s rice consumption would exceed its production starting in 2020, taking into account land availability and climate change.

Threats to food security will likely increase as the population continues to soar and economic activities develop, while land availability becomes more limited. Hence, improved productivity and technological developments are necessary.

Globally traded commodities produced in Indonesia, namely palm oil, coffee and cocoa, face similar challenges.

Palm oil is one of the most efficient crops but the productivity level in Indonesia, especially on small farmers’ lands, is still relatively low at 3.2 tons of crude palm oil (CPO) per hectare — the global average is between 4 and 5 tons.

If productivity and practices are not improved, the increased global demand for palm oil could lead to expansion and exploitation of the remaining forests and peat lands and potentially to forest and land fires.

However, a decree for conservation has been adopted by the government, which is in tandem with global markets that increasingly support sustainable products.

Land cultivated for palm oil needs replanting. In South Sumatra alone, between 2016 and 2021, replanting needs are estimated to be at least 270,000 hectares.

The investment required for oil palm replanting could reach US$5,000 per ha. A new financial plan is needed to support replanting, especially if it involves small farmers.

Without adequate finances and technical support for replanting, growers and farmers could opt to expand their palm oil cultivation to high risk areas, such as forests and peat lands.

Concerning cocoa and coffee, low productivity is a huge challenge as land is often managed and cultivated by small farmers.

Low productivity has trapped small farmers in a cycle of poverty and a cycle of debt. The inability of small farmers to access finances and sound agriculture practices has led to reduced quality of input which in turn produces a low level of output (quantity and quality).

Without a provision of better input, farmers will have difficulty meeting global standards — hence, their struggle to break into the global market.

Funding for farmers is even more challenging because financial institutions perceive giving loans to small farmers as a high risk.

This perception relates to the unclear land status of farmers, low capability and accountability of farmer organizations and existing debt by farmers.

Innovation could help farmers gain agriculture knowledge, input material, improve farmer organizations and reduce investment risks. This is key to producing more with less — more productivity with less environmental impact.

Models for this have been tested across the globe, including in Indonesia.

A good model usually consists of a supply chain company committed as a long-term off-taker of commodities supplied by farmers, a farmer organization or cooperative, a bank that provides a soft-loan for a cooperative with a grace period taking into account the harvesting cycle, a provider of seeds and input materials and a donor or private foundation that provides technical support for farmers.

Such models have been applied in Aceh for aquaculture, Riau, Jambi and South Sumatra for palm oil, Lampung for coffee and Sulawesi for cocoa.

Individual corporations, organizations and banks or multi-stakeholders’ platforms, such as Partnership for Indonesia Sustainable Agriculture (PISAgro), are examining these models in collaboration with a number of cooperatives and government agencies.

A model in just one supply chain may not be enough as there are many challenges and issues shared among different actors in different supply chains.

These shared issues include land legality, water and landscape management, fire prevention and energy provision and require a holistic approach beyond just one farm or supply chain.

In Musi Banyuasin district, South Sumatra, a supply shed approach led by its regent is being tested to support the development of integrated sustainable commodities, such as palm oil, rice, rubber and protecting forests and peat lands.

This approach has gathered the support of local government agencies, mills and local and international organizations to collaboratively help identify and map independent small farmers and their challenges.

A combination of segregated supply chain and integrated supply shed approaches with clear financial support and sound agriculture practices is one of the most effective ways to develop commodities while protecting our fragile ecosystem.

The bold part of this journey is to build on these approaches to increase investment, develop commodity production and protect larger areas.

It is time for Indonesia to demonstrate its ability to “produce more with less”.

Facilitating the transfer and diffusion of clean technology: opportunities on wastewater treatment in South East Asia

Section 2: Indonesia Country Report: Wastewater Management in Indonesia—Opportunities and Challenges, pp. 7-33

By Fitrian Ardiansyah and Rudy Abdul Rahman, published by UN WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization), WIPO Green -The market place for sustainable technology, 2016, World Intellectual Property Organization 34, chemin des Colombettes, P.O. Box 18, CH-1211 Geneva 20, Switzerland. For the complete pdf version of the magazine (2.72MB), please click: wipo_ip_mnl_15_report or

WIPO Green

Summary of Section 2:

This project report aims to identify and assess the technologies needed to improve wastewater treatment in Indonesia.

The objective is to identify and assess at least 15 wastewater treatment technology needs and technology seekers from Indonesia. The report also briefly reviews the legal frameworks that govern Indonesia’s wastewater treatment, its technologies and relevant intellectual property issues.

Indonesia has three types of regulations governing wastewater treatment. The first type is
environmental-related regulations.

The key aspect of these regulations is that technologies developed or introduced are required to maintain wastewater discharge below the allowable threshold. The second is technology-related regulation.

The key point of these regulations is that technologies are required to meet Indonesian National Standards (SNI). The last type of regulation covers technology transfer and intellectual property rights. Technologies developed or introduced in Indonesia are required to follow the Indonesia’s laws on technology transfer and intellectual property.

15 technology seekers were interviewed for the preparation of the report. The list is comprehensive, consisting of organizations and companies working in palm oil, rubber, pulp and paper and other relevant sectors, and in urban areas.

The coverage of technology seekers is diverse, incorporating three major islands of Indonesia, Sumatra, Java and Kalimantan.

The interviews revealed five important points.

Technological needs. Many technology seekers need innovative technologies that can both help address their wastewater issues and provide useful outputs or by-products.

Wastewater technology seekers, on the other hand, require support in almost all technical fields, including design aspects, alternative energy production, energy conservation and waste management.

Sustainability. Almost all seekers need technological solutions immediately, but the solutions need to be usable over the long-term.

Geographical spread. Although the technology might be used only in seekers’ areas, it is also needed in other parts of the country. Thus, if a new or adjusted technology is successful, similar companies and organizations in Indonesia might adopt the technology.

Intellectual property rights. Many seekers need help in buying products and technologies. They require other technology transfer support, including project development, technical assistance (training on intellectual property rights, patenting, licensing and negotiation) and consultancy.

Capacity, infrastructure and financing. Some seekers have knowledge and experience in wastewater management; others do not. Many seekers are connected to transport infrastructure, but only a few have access to a reliable supply of electricity. Some organizations require financial support.

In emerging economies, accelerated development in the industrial, mining and agricultural sectors and in urban areas has led to serious water pollution caused by the discharge of untreated wastewater from these industries and households.

In Indonesia, pollution is reducing the amount of available clean water by 15-35% per capita annually (

In Indonesia, several factors contribute to the degradation of water quality, such as domestic solid waste and wastewater, and wastewater from small and large-scale agricultural, textile, pulp and paper, petrochemical, mining, and oil and gas activities.

With regard to household or domestic waste and wastewater treatments, only 42.8% of more than 51 million households have such treatments and 56.15% dispose of their domestic waste and wastewater directly into natural watercourses ( As a result of this pollution, the water from six major rivers in West Java is unsafe to drink.

Water bodies located near mining areas are contaminated by heavy metals such as mercury (Hg). The Water Environment Partnership in Asia (WEPA) found that of 16 sampling points near mining areas show a significant level of mercury (Hg) concentration, with the highest level of dissolved mercury in one mining area reaching 2.78 Hg/l (

In the agricultural sector, the expansion of oil palm plantations and the palm oil industry have resulted in a significant increase in wastewater. Palm oil processing is water-intensive (, and if wastewater is not treated, it contributes to the worsening levels of water pollution. Water pollution affects humans, other species and the overall built environment and already fragile natural ecosystems. It can impact fisheries, agricultural production and many other economic activities. Fortunately, technology has the potential to mitigate this problem.

There is a need, however, to understand what is considered appropriate, affordable and optimal wastewater treatment technology. Users of such technology, such as municipal governments, palm oil companies, mining companies, hotel managers, and affected stakeholders need to be interviewed to understand exactly what they need to help them improve wastewater treatment. An analysis of these needs is imperative because wastewater treatment technologies cannot be directly transferred installed and used if they are found unsuitable for the Indonesian context.

It is believed that WIPO GREEN can provide a useful platform to accelerate the innovation and diffusion of wastewater treatment technologies. This report acts as a needs assessment for wastewater technologies in Indonesia and will be of use not only to technology users, but also to wider communities in the country.

The assessment outlines specific relevant wastewater treatment technologies and potential technology users, mainly from a technical standpoint. The assessment also includes a brief review of the legal framework governing wastewater treatment, its technology and related intellectual property issues. Such a review is crucial to determine whether a particular wastewater treatment technology can be developed or introduced in Indonesia.

The report also attempts to delineate some economic and financing components of the technology so that it can give a clearer idea of whether a particular technology is feasible and affordable for technology users in Indonesia.

For the complete pdf see: wipo_ip_mnl_15_report or

Membangun sektor kakao yang berkelanjutan

Oleh Fitrian Ardiansyah, di majalah COKELAT, Edisi 12, Januari – Mei 2016, hal. 10-13. Untuk versi pdf lengkap dari majalah ini (4MB), mohon lihat: post-LKipG-majalah-cokelat-2016-08-05-10-54-45-ID


DALAM beberapa tahun terakhir, sektor kakao di dunia dan juga di Indonesia, telah berupaya bertransformasi menjadi lebih berkelanjutan, ramah lingkungan dan sosial sambil terus meningkatkan produktivitasnya. Tantangan terbesar dalam membangun sektor kakao menjadi lebih lestari di antaranya adalah mengembangkan model bisnis di tingkat petani, yang tidak hanya berfokus kepada peningkatan produktivitas, tetapi juga mendorong kewirausahaan petani dan pengelolaan koperasi sekaligus memasukkan unsur perlindungan lingkungan.

Dengan tingkat produksi kakao 350.000 ton per tahunnya (2014/2015), Indonesia saat ini menempati peringkat ke tiga di dunia. Kakao merupakan salah satu komoditas ekspor terpenting untuk Indonesia. Komoditas ini juga penting bagi penduduk perdesaan dikarenakan mayoritas produksi kakao dihasilkan oleh petani kecil. Saat ini, Indonesia memiliki setidaknya 1,5 juta hektar luasan lahan yang ditanami dengan komoditas tanaman kakao, terutama di Sulawesi, Sumatera Utara, Jawa Barat, Papua dan Kalimantan Timur. Dengan banyaknya produksi kakao yang dihasilkan oleh petani kecil, aspek keberlanjutan atau kelestarian kakao tidak akan dapat
dicapai tanpa melibatkan petani kecil.

Untuk menjamin kesuksesan dalam membangun sektor kakao yang berkelanjutan, harus dibarengi dengan upaya selain untuk mendorong pengembangan opsi penghidupan yang berkelanjutan bagi desa tempat petani kakao tersebut tinggal, sekaligus membantu petani dalam peningkatan kapasitas kewirausahaan. Tanpa inovasi yang membantu kapasitas petani (terutama dalam konteks peningkatan produktivitas, pengelolaan lahan yang lebih baik dan pendanaan organisasi petani atau koperasi) akan sulit menjamin keberlanjutan sektor kakao.

Selain itu, dikarenakan situasi pasar ekspor yang dewasa ini juga semakin meminta suatu komoditas untuk diproduksi dengan lebih memperhatikan unsur perlindungan sosial dan lingkungan, pengembangan kakao yang berkelanjutan di Indonesia harus mencakup aspek pengembangan masyarakat setempat, pemberdayaan perempuan, pengentasan kemiskinan dan malnutrisi, dan pengelolaan lahan yang tidak menimbulkan kebakaran lahan, degradasi lingkungan, dan deforestasi. Dalam merealisasikan sektor kakao yang berkelanjutan, pengembangan model atau proof-of-concepts yang digagas bersama oleh pelaku industri, organisasi nirlaba, kelompok petani, maupun pemerintah menjadi penting. Dikarenakan model tersebut diharapkan bisa direplikasi atau dikembangkan di skala yang lebih luas untuk menjamin cakupan konsep untuk sektor kakao berkelanjutan diadopsi oleh banyak pihak.

Inovasi dalam peningkatan produktivitas lahan dan pendanaan petani

Dibandingkan komoditas perkebunan lainnya, salah satu tantangan untuk mewujudkan sektor kakao berkelanjutan adalah rendahnya tingkat produktivitas tanaman kakao, terutama yang dihasilkan oleh petani dengan satuan per hektarnya. Dikarenakan hal tersebut, sejumlah besar petani kakao terjebak dalam siklus kemiskinan yang terus menerus dan dililit hutang yang signifikan. Input yang rendah yang kemudian menghasilkan output yang rendah (kuantitas dan kualitas), secara kronis menghambat pertumbuhan komoditas kakao. Skema untuk membantu petani dalam penyediaan input yang lebih baik, masih belum mempunyai standar yang sama.

Sedangkan, pendanaan untuk petani sendiri dalam mengelola lahan yang lebih baik seringkali tidak tersedia dengan alasan bahwa lembaga perbankan masih melihat tingginya risiko untuk membantu mereka dalam mengelola lahan, sehingga petani masih bergantung kepada pemberi dana informal yang hanya memberikan dana terbatas dan dalam waktu singkat, dan tentunya dengan tingkat suku bunga yang tinggi. Kondisi ini diperparah kemudian dengan usia tanaman yang sudah tua dan semakin menua, ditambah dengan skema pendanaan untuk peremajaan dan rehabilitasi yang belum jelas bentuknya.

Walau begitu, sebenarnya ada beberapa inisiatif yang sudah dikembangkan di beberapa tempat untuk mengatasi siklus input rendah-output rendah tersebut. Sebagai contoh, bantuan dari perusahaan yang bertindak sebagai mitra petani yang kemudian bisa menjamin harga yang rendah dalam pembelian pupuk sangat membantu petani dalam kepastian input dari segi pemupukan. Pengembangan sertifikasi dan traceability (lacak balak dalam rantai pasokan) juga membantu memperkuat hubungan antara perusahaan/pembeli dan petani serta dapat membantu mengidentifikasi komponen- -komponen di tingkat petani yang perlu diperkuat, termasuk dalam hal input. Skema pendanaan dan berbagi risiko dalam penyediaan pupuk dan penyewaan truk, juga bisa didorong sebagai inovasi yang akan membantu kepastian input. Selain itu, sistem perbankan elektronik (mobile banking) juga terus digagas sebagai inovasi yang akan menempatkan petani sebagai pelaku yang bisa lebih dipercaya untuk mendapatkan bantuan dalam penyediaan input.

Untuk mencapai skala yang lebih luas dari inovasi-inovasi yang telah dilakukan, kerjasama antara berbagai pemangku kepentingan (pemerintah setempat, perbankan setempat, dan internasional) menjadi penting. Kerjasama ini diperlukan terutama untuk menghasilkan berbagai skema pendanaan dengan jangka waktu menengah atau panjang yang mendorong ketersediaan dukungan pendanaan dalam penyediaan input untuk lahan petani, kepemilikan atau penyewaan lahan, dan pembiayaan operasional lainnya. Agar pendekatan ini berhasil, terbentuknya dan efektifnya organisasi petani ataupun koperasi sangatlah penting. Tanpa adanya organisasi petani atau koperasi yang efektif, akan sulit bagi perbankan untuk menggelontorkan pendanaan dikarenakan risiko bagi skema pendanaan tersebut menjadi lebih tinggi jika disalurkan ke petani perseorangan.

Dalam rangka membantu petani serta organisasinya, ataupun koperasi, menjadi lebih bankable, pendampingan, dan pemberdayaan serta upaya peningkatan kapasitas mereka merupakan keniscayaan. Petani dan organisasinya, diharapkan dapat diperkenalkan dengan modul- -modul yang akan membantu mereka untuk mengelola keuangannya menjadi lebih efisien dan terpercaya. Tentunya, hal ini hanya bisa dicapai bila terdapat organisasi pendamping di tingkat lokal, yang bekerja sama dengan perbankan ataupun lembaga keuangan setempat, yang memang berpengalaman dalam pengelolaan keuangan di tingkat kecamatan atau desa. Kerjasama semacam ini dapat menumbuhkan kepercayaan antara lembaga-lembaga tersebut dan petani dapat dengan memudah bertanya dan memperbaiki diri dan lembaganya. Pada gilirannya, ketika petani dan organisasinya dapat mengelola keuangannya dengan lebih baik, daya dan posisi negosiasi petani dengan pihak perbankan menjadi lebih besar dan kuat.

Inovasi dalam perlindungan dan pemenuhan hak-hak sosial

Salah satu aspek yang penting dalam pembangunan sektor kakao berkelanjutan adalah perlindungan sosial atau pemenuhan hak-hak masyarakat. Untuk Indonesia, komponen-komponen yang perlu diperhatikan di antaranya adalah pemberdayaan perempuan, peningkatan nutrisi, dan akses masyarakat kepada aktivitas di rantai pasok yang selama ini lebih banyak dikerjakan oleh industri. Konteks pemberdayaan perempuan menjadi strategis dikarenakan petani kakao banyak yang dipersepsikan sebagai sektor yang didominasi oleh laki-laki. Hal ini telah dianggap menghambat akses perempuan dalam penggunaan lahan dan sumberdaya yang berkaitan dengan lahan budidaya tersebut, dan tentunya pendanaan. Karenanya, berbagai inovasi diperlukan untuk memberikan kesempatan bagi perempuan terlibat. Sebagai contoh, dalam pelatihan yang diberikan, porsi keterlibatan perempuan ditingkatkan, ataupun persentase pemberian kredit pertanian juga bagi petani perempuan. Ataupun hal lainnya yang bisa dicoba adalah dengan meningkatkan kapasitas perempuan untuk terlibat dalam upaya kewirausahaan komoditas kakao, dengan menjadi pemimpin di dalam organisasi petani ataupun koperasi.

Dalam konteks malnutrisi, ada beberapa terobosan yang perlu dilakukan. Kasus malnutrisi pada anak, gangguan pertumbuhan, dan sanitasi yang kurang dapat diatasi dengan mengombinasikan program produktivitas petani dengan peningkatan asupan gizi bagi keluarga dan anak. Salah satu model yang bisa diterapkan adalah dengan memperkenalkan penanaman tumbuhan yang berguna bagi peningkatan gizi, pembelajaran mengenai gizi itu sendiri, dan perubahan komponen diet bagi petani dan keluarganya. Pengelolaan keuangan yang lebih baik tentunya akan membantu petani menyisihkan sebagian dananya untuk memenuhi asupan gizi bagi keluarganya.

Inovasi dalam pengelolaan lahan yang lebih baik dan pencegahan deforestasi

Walau tidak seperti komoditas lainnya yang lebih ekspansif, aspek pencegahan degradasi lingkungan termasuk pencegahan deforestasi di sektor kakao sudah menjadi bagian integral yang diminta pelaku pasar. Pencegahan degradasi lingkungan dan deforestasi, hanya saja, melibatkan berbagai pihak dan kepentingan, terutama dalam pengelolaaan ruang dan lahan, yang cukup kompleks. Sebagian tantangannya juga berkaitan dengan baik atau buruknya tata pemerintahan di tempat komoditas kakao tersebut dikembangkan.

Di tempat lain, kakao juga bisa dianggap sebagai buffer (penyangga) yang pada gilirannya dapat melindungi hutan untuk tidak dijarah atau dikonversi menjadi komoditas lainnya. Namun, pengembangan komoditas kakao di kawasan penyangga tersebut haruslah produktif dan mempunyai nilai tambah sehingga petani kakao tidak melebarkan cakupan lahannya ke dalam hutan ataupun mengganti tanaman kakaonya menjadi tanaman lainnya yang lebih ekspansif.

Pengembangan model yang menyeimbangkan peningkatan produktivitas sekaligus perlindungan hutan (production-protection) sangatlah relevan dengan kondisi Indonesia yang masih mempunyai banyak tutupan hutan yang masih asri. Petani kakao yang produktif dan peduli lingkungan, pada gilirannya dapat menjadi penjaga hutan yang sangat efektif. Jika model production-protection dikembangkan dengan konsep lainnya, semacam agroforestry, bisa jadi menarik bagi investor non-konvensional. Investor tersebut misalnya dapat memberikan pendanaan karena adanya serapan karbon atau perlindungan keanekaragaman hayati, atau nilai tambah lainnya. Hal tersebut bisa dikategorikan sebagai penambahan pendapatan bagi petani.

Model semacam ini dapat secara efektif dikembangkan bila ada perencanaan di skala bentang alam (lanskap) yang tentunya memerlukan keterlibatan pemerintah setempat. Keterlibatan pelaku dari komoditas lain juga menjadi penting karena tujuan pengelolaan lanskap yang baik harus didukung oleh semua pelaku usaha, petani, dan pemerintah. Pendekatan lanskap ini juga dapat memberikan kestabilan ekonomi bagi daerah tersebut karena tidak hanya bergantung kepada satu komoditas, sekaligus sinergi pengembangan multi-komoditas dapat tercapai.

Keseimbangan dalam keberlanjutan 

Dalam pembangunan sektor kakao yang berkelanjutan, secara jelas terlihat bahwa aspek peningkatan produktivitas sekaligus perlindungan sosial dan lingkungan perlu didorong secara seimbang. Keterlibatan pemangku kepentingan yang terkait juga penting dikarenakan hal ini dapat membantu menjamin realisasi komoditas kakao yang berkelanjutan di lapangan. Kemitraan dalam mengembangkan model perlu ditingkatkan lebih lanjut dalam skala yang lebih tinggi atau luas, semisal di tingkat lanskap. Indonesia, sebagai negara produsen kakao ke tiga terbesar di dunia, mempunyai kesempatan melakukan transformasi di sektor kakao, yang tentunya hanya bisa dilakukan bila inovasi-inovasi dan model-model yang disebutkan sebelumnya bisa terus dikembangkan dan yang terpenting diterapkan di sentra kakao di seluruh nusantara.


Penulis adalah Indonesia Country Director untuk IDH-The Sustainable Trade Initiative. Email di


The challenges of environmental governance in a democratic and decentralized Indonesia

Authors: Fitrian Ardiansyah, Melati and Astari Anjani.

A book chapter (Chapter 6) in S Mukherjee & D Chakraborty (eds), Environmental Challenges and Governance: Diverse Perspective from Asia, Routledge (2015), Oxon.

Cover book

Please check this link to access the book and chapter:

Or see the pre-published version of this chapter:



Since the last decade, Indonesia appears to have increasingly put serious efforts into advancing its commitments in environmental protection and climate change mitigation. The Government of Indonesia (GoIn) led by its president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, for instance, made a famous pledge at the G-20 meeting on 25 September 2009, stating that his government was devising a policy to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 26 per cent by 2020 from business as usual (BAU) levels, and up to 41 per cent with international support (Melisa 2010). During his co-chairmanship for the United Nations High Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, the Indonesian president re-affirmed the importance of environmental protection along with economic development and poverty alleviation (President of Indonesia 2012b).

To achieve its commitment for environmental protection and climate change mitigation, the GoIn has combined various approaches including by issuing domestic policies and programs, and providing economic incentives as well as reforming existing institutions and establishing new ones. A number of regulations and policies were issued by the GoIn on this front and the GoIn set up new agencies, in addition to existing ministries, to help deal with environmental issues. The GoIn has also attempted to provide economic incentives for environmental protection and climate change mitigation (Dhewanthi 2012).

Environmental degradation as elaborated in the following section, however, has continued to affect and threaten all aspects of Indonesian development and people’s lives. The forest and land fires during 2013 and their associated haze, which affected neighboring countries, is a good example of how an environmental disaster not only has disturbed the local economy and health conditions of local people but also can transform the relations of neighboring countries in Southeast Asia into one of the worst in the history of the region (Ardiansyah 2013).

The GoIn’s commitments to protect the country’s environment are ambitious, and to achieve the desired outcomes, it will need all support it can get. Indonesia’s political and governance system, however, is not homogenous. While some government agencies may be willing to collaborate, others such as local governments need to feel the ownership of such ‘ideal call’ and see concrete benefits to get involved. Since decentralization took place in the early millennium, significant powers now rest with the district and municipal governments, including in managing natural resources and the environment. This chapter, therefore, explores key challenges in realizing the country’s environmental management commitments in the current governance context. Prior to discussing regulations and institutions established to address environmental challenges in Indonesia, the following section briefly touches on the country’s state of environment and current challenges that Indonesia has to face. The third section provides an analysis of regulations and policies on the environment and other relevant regulations and policies. This section also examines the interconnection of these different regulations. Section four analyzes roles of different government actors or institutions, and non-state actors, namely civil society groups and the private sector when it comes to environmental management of the country. This section discusses the complexity, challenges and opportunities for these different actors and institutions to collaborate in managing the environment and natural resources in the country. This section also emphasizes the importance of the current decentralized governmental system and the challenges resulting from this system for the country’s environmental management. With an increase in the level of authority of sub-national governments, formulating policies, designing programs and coordinating programmatic implementation of environmental management across more than 400 districts in Indonesia are Herculean tasks for the GoIn. The chapter concludes with remarks that may help further reform in Indonesia’s environmental governance.

Keywords: Indonesia, decentralization, environmental governance, forest and land use governance, legal framework.


Sustainable forest management and a healthy landscape

by Fitrian Ardiansyah, 3 December 2015, Paris, Indonesia Pavilion, COP-21, UNFCCC.


Fitrian_3 Dec_COP21

These remarks were taken from my presentation and discussion that contributed to a panel discussion on Natural Forest: Production and Conservation.

The key points are:

(1) IDH’s Tropical Timber Program has been working in three important tropical regions: i.e. Amazon, Congo Basin, Indonesia. We support and co-finance efforts of concessions and others to achieve certified sustainable forest management. In each region, the aim is to obtain 4 million ha of credible certified SFM (sustainable forest management). In Indonesia we collaborate with and support The Borneo Initiative and many concessions. The progress in Indonesia is that 1.5 million hectares have been certified (fully or control wood) and more than 2 million hectares are still in progress.

(2) We also work in the demand side, ensuring the uptake and market access of that SFM products.

(3) To achieve sustainability, addressing legality is a must and can act as a starting point. In our view, there will not be sustainability without legality. Initiatives like SVLK (timber legality verification system) in Indonesia should be encouraged and supported.

(4) Individual SFM and concessions are good but still insufficient, especially if we want to address cross-cutting issues and challenges. These include wildlife management and protection, fire, peat and water management, high conservation values and social dimension. These concessions – albeit having certified SFM – still need to work together among themselves and with other land use actors, including oil palm plantations, industrial timber plantations and communities. Based on this, selecting a landscape approach as a platform is imperative.

(5) In a landscape approach, not only regulations that would be crucial to guide collaboration, incentives need to be created so that better behaviour of land use actors can be ensured.

Please see the presentation here: SFM and landscape_FA_03122015

Note: Picture by Aristia Wanjaya

The effectiveness of the ‘marriage’ of environmental and forestry ministry

By Fitrian Ardiansyah, published in Coal Asia, December 17 2014 – January 17, 2015, page 78-79

for the pdf version (508kb), please see: Coal Asia 50_Fitrian Ardiansyah_78-79_Dec2014_Jan2015_KLHK

Coal Asia 50


Reducing deforestation and protecting the fragile environment while promoting forest production have been proved to be a challenging task for the previous forestry ministry. The merger of the environmental and forestry ministries into one agency is expected to at least ease the level of deforestation that is relatively high in Indonesia.

There are a number of challenges to achieve such an objective.

Traditionally, the forestry ministry has duties and functions to formulate and implement any government affairs in the field of forestry, including the designation, management and monitoring of the national forest estates, covering approximately 134 million hectares (70 percent of Indonesia’s land surface) in 2011.

In the same year, however, it was reported that only 98 million hectares of these national forest areas were still forested (52 percent of the land surface).

Other sectors and activities such as agricultural plantations and mining have been blamed for such massive forest loss but since the forestry ministry has also been pushing to continuously perform by increasing Indonesia’s export of timber related products, including plywood and pulp and paper, the ministry is also significantly responsible for continuous deforestation.

Several regulations, used as a regulatory framework to support the forestry ministry, clearly facilitate and support individuals, cooperatives, corporations and other entities to harvest and exploit timber and other forest products in the remaining forest areas.

These, among others, are Government Regulation (GR) No. 7 of 1990 on Industrial Timber Plantations, GR No. 51 of 1998 on Forest Resource Rent Provision, GR No. 3 of 2008 on Revision of GR No. 6 of 2007 on Forest Planning and Formulation of Forest Management and Utilization Plan, Minister of Forestry Regulation (MoFR) No. 35 of 2008 on Permits for Primary Forest Industrial Activity, and MoFR No. 50 of 2010 on Granting Licenses for Timber Production in Natural Production Forest.

In contrast, the environmental ministry has the government’s duties to protect and sustainable manage the environment, including the formulation and implementation of national policy and program, the regulation of environmental impact assessment processes, and the collection of relevant environmental data. This ministry has a big stake to support forest protection and conservation.

Unlike the forestry ministry, the environmental ministry has no direct control over particular forest areas, although they can conduct environmental monitoring. This ministry also had limited budget and personnel.

In some cases, the environmental ministry has proved to be effective in monitoring environmental protection as well as prosecuting those suspected to be violating environmental regulations.

One of recently few successful cases is the local court’s ruling in Aceh in January 2014 that found a palm oil company, guilty of illegally burning forests within the Tripa peat swamps, considered as part of the protected fragile Leuser Ecosystem, and has to pay a fine of approximately US$9 million as compensation and US$21 million for restoration activities of the affected forests.

In this situation, the environmental ministry was seen as an instrumental part in ensuring law enforcement in the land use and forest sectors.

The combination of environmental and forestry ministry, if both capacity and capability can be effectively utilized and coordinated, can lead to better law enforcement activities, signaling the seriousness of the current administration to uphold and execute the law and regulations.

This combination, however, can undermine forest protection and conservation, and sustainable forest management, and lead to further deforestation, if exploitative nature of forest and similar industries appears to be dominantly coloring the decision of the combined ministry.

The environmental ministry, according to Law No. 32 of 2009 on Environmental Protection and Management, for instance, has been given a slightly greater control over monitoring and reviewing other governments’ policies and permits, especially if these have potential environmental risks.

Such authority to review other government’s policies and permits can be strengthened within the combined ministry especially with the fact that the current combined ministry has presumably more human resources and budget.

The combined ministry can, however, undermine the role of the previous environmental ministry to review and monitor and, to some extent, control environmental management and protection, in the case of forest and land management, if decisions have been made internally to prefer forest exploitation.

When it comes to laws and regulations on environmental and forest protection, the combined ministry at least now has a more than sufficient legal umbrella, including Law No. 5 of 1990 on Conservation of Biodiversity and Ecosystems, GR No. 60 of 2009 on Revision of GR No. 45 of 2004 on Forest Protection, in addition to Law No. 32 of 2009.

To show that the combined ministry has become better in promoting environmental and forest protection, the ministry can use specific regulations previously utilized by the forestry ministry to deal with few upcoming challenges, including the recent Aceh provincial spatial plan (Qanun No. 19 of 2014) that does not mention the world renowned Leuser ecosystem, and the importance of its protection.

The home affairs ministry has responded to this plan and mentioned that there are 27 points needing to be corrected or revised by the provincial government.

The new environmental and forestry ministry can assist the home affairs ministry and the provincial government by showing that there are regulations such as PD No. 33 of 1998 on Leuser Ecosystem Area Management and Presidential Instruction (PI) No. 5 of 2001 on Eliminating Illegal Logging and the Illegal Timber Trade in the Leuser Ecosystem and Tanjung Puting National Park that need to be followed by the provincial government and incorporated as a regulatory framework of the provincial spatial plan.

The combined ministry can assist the provincial government and other sub-national governments to develop their respective areas by basing on the principles of sustainable development and green economies.

The combined ministry can further work together with relevant ministries, including the finance ministry, to develop further incentives so that other government’s ministries and local governments to mainstream and implement such principles.

The current administration has decided to combine environmental and forestry ministries. Only with the actual outcomes on the ground, such as reduced deforestation, that this administration will be considered successful compared to the previous one.

The combined ministry now has the chance to prove to the general public that combining both ministries is the right decision for the sustainability of Indonesia.


The writer is climate and sustainability specialist, a doctoral candidate at the Australian National University, and the recipient of Australian Leadership Award and Allison Sudradjat Award. He can be reached at