It has been a year since Better Life Farming (BLF) officially launched in Indonesia on 8 December 2020. Since then, the alliance has opened many new opportunities for smallholder farmers in the world’s fourth-largest country by population, boosting crop productivity, and with that, profitability.
Expanding agri-entrepreneurship for rural communities
“BLF’s successful agri-entrepreneurship model has exceeded all expectations during its first year of operation,” said Dani Adi Prasetya, BLF country manager in Indonesia. “For the official launch in 2020, the BLF Alliance established 56 BLF Centers reaching a total of 25,000 smallholders. Within one year of its operation, over 350 BLF Centers are up and running, reaching 230,000 smallholders in nine Indonesian provinces.”
BLF in Indonesia follows the concept of BLF Centers as a central hub selling agricultural input materials and offering related services and trainings in rural communities. The centers are run by local agri-entrepreneurs and represent great opportunities for smallholders as they enable the transfer of knowledge and skills that promote technology transfer on good agricultural practices (G.A.P.). “Through the BLF Centers, our partners and Bayer are working to open up access to technology, capacity building, markets, and financing to support smallholder farmers and enable them to manage their agricultural business in a professional and commercially viable manner,” says Patrick Gerlich, Country Commercial Lead Crop Science, Bayer Indonesia and Malaysia.
Creating impact for smallholders through digital technologies and market linkage
“Farmers can now use drones to supervise their land, efficiently water the crops and apply crop protection with precision,” said Feri Fathurohman, a farmer who runs a BLF Center in Bentan and appreciates the access to modern crop protection solutions and technologies.
Through the improved market access as a result of the BLF Alliance in Indonesia Feri’s productivity has increased by 38% from 6.5 to 9 t/ha andhis income has improved by 40%. In the Tulungagung area, the BLF Alliance helped increase food crop productivity of farmers by over 25% and more than tripled incomes, as opposed to farmers not benefiting from access to BLF’s agri-ecosytem. In the Banten area, these figures are plus 25% and more than 50% respectively.
Empowering women smallholders
BLF’s impact on smallholders goes much further than just increasing their financial well-being. Women represent almost half of Indonesia’s agricultural labor force and play a crucial role in food production. Better Life Farming aims to empower women smallholders by encouraging them to become agri-entrepreneurs in Indonesia and beyond. Today, 20% of BLF agri-entrepreneurs are women in Indonesia. Aldaniar Bekti, a female agri-entrepreneur in the Tulungagung area, has been able to better support her community as a result of her yields increasing by 40%. “BLF opens opportunities for women to become agri-entrepreneurs. I received many benefits of joining the BLF and I am comfortable running my business”, says Aldhaniar.
Unlocking smallholders’ potential through partnerships
To unlock smallholders’ potential holistically, partnerships with other companies and
institutions along the value chain are indispensable, and Indonesia is no exception to the rule. By working with three global and four local partner organizations, Indonesian small-
holders are supported from seed to harvest and beyond.
Partner organizations help smallholders get the most out of every seed they plant and deliver solutions for each step in the growing process (e.g., trainings on efficient use of resources, access to technologies and products, financing possibilities, and market linkage). Partnerships are the pillars of the Alliance and Bayer is always keen to collaborate with more in the future.
The BLF Alliance aims to empower 4 million smallholder farmers by 2030, support farmer corporations, support reach out to 2.5 million young farmers, and enhance the role of women in farming in Indonesia. On the occasion of the World Food Day on October 23, 2021, the Minister of Agriculture said“Food security has always been our top priority for national development in 2020-2024, and farmers have a big role to play in helping ensure the availability of domestic foodstuff. Thus, we highly appreciate Bayer’s Better Life Farming program that has contributed a successful model that effectively empowers the farmers, ensure access to the network of value chain and establish one-stop solution centers that provide supports for the farmers’ needs within their reach. This model should be amplified to the rest of Indonesia’s agriculture areas.