Young farmers rising!
Written by Acep Muslim, Programme Officer, AKATIGA. Translated by James Moore, Intern at AKATIGA from the University of Western Sydney.
People often think that the younger generation is not interested in agriculture anymore, but in fact, there are still a lot of them who are! This interest, however, is hindered by various obstacles.
Research from the Centre for Social Analysis (AKATIGA), an Innovate and Learn grantee in Indonesia, found out that these obstacles are:
- Difficulties with access to land
- Lack of new knowledge and innovative skills in agriculture; and
- Weak position in village politics and the resources that it offers.
Through their Voice-supported project ‘Let’s Be Young Farmers!’, AKATIGA aims to mobilise youth in rural areas of Central and West Java, Indonesia, to collectively face and respond to these obstacles.
In late March 2019, AKATIGA held a discussion on their project focus during the Healthy Market event in Bandung, Indonesia to tackle the situation and raise awareness on their advocacy.
“Facilitation is needed for youth groups, both men and women, to be able to access land and farms. Equally important is increasing their knowledge and skills in farming and in marketing their agricultural products”.Aprilia Ambarwati – Researcher at AKATIGA
Aprilia also added that it is important for young people to participate in the decision-making process at the village level, including the development planning process.
“The participation of young people is important to ensure that their aspiration to get decent jobs in the village, including farming, receive support from the village government.”
The discussion also presented two other speakers namely Ambar, a teenager from Kulon Progo who had begun learning farming, and Mentari Al Wasilah, an activist from the youth group called 1000Kebun.
“Farming can be a fun recreation too. I used to be so lazy, I was afraid that it will make my skin darker, but it turned out that accomplishing things together and supporting each other through farming is fun!” Ambar shared.
Mentari also shared that even the young generation in urban areas could support agriculture in various ways. “In the city, we can also participate in agriculture through other forms, like engaging in the 1000Kebun community where we work on marketing agricultural products through innovative methods,” she said.
AKATIGA in collaboration with the 1000Kebun Community in Bandung and the Mandala Cipta Karang Taruna Group in one village in Kulon Progo continue to support the young aspiring farmers by providing them with knowledge, skills, and networks that can help them to make agriculture a viable source of livelihood.
At present, the programme is being implemented in a village in Sukabumi Regency and another village in Kebumen Regency. At the end of the programme, it is hoped that young farmers from the two regions will prove that farming can be both profitable and cool!
Have a look at their growth below.