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News Story: Fostering inclusion in Indonesian agribusiness

GEDSI

GEDSI

Agribusinesses and people with disabilities share their experience

On Tuesday, 21 May, PRISMA hosted a Petani Maju (Future Farmer) event and workshop "Disability Inclusion in Agribusiness: From Awareness to Action." During the event, agribusinesses and people with disabilities had the opportunity to share best practices to reach more farmers with a disability with products, services, and innovations that can increase incomes.

Disability Inclusion in Agribusiness: From Awareness to Action

Bapak Suryono from DPO Banyuurip, a local OPD in Purworejo, Central Java and Ibu Dinar Novellia from Advanta Indonesia mapped out the potential and challenges of people with disabilities at "Disability Inclusion in Agribusiness: From Awareness to Action" workshop 

Nothing about us without us

On Tuesday, 21 May, PRISMA hosted a Petani Maju (Future Farmer) event focused on "Disability Inclusion in Agribusiness: From Awareness to Action." During the event, agribusinesses and people with disabilities had the opportunity to share best practices to reach more farmers with a disability with products, services, and innovations that can increase incomes.

Petani Maju is a PRISMA campaign to support productive farmers and strong communities. Farmers with a disability can miss out as consumers on products and services that could improve productivity. The campaign supports agribusinesses in bridging this gap by researching and targeting different customer segments.

The workshop, facilitated by Pusat Rehabilitasi YAKKUM, a humanitarian organisation advocating for the rights of people with disabilities, drew participation from a wide group of agribusinesses, including animal feed and fertiliser companies, farmers with disabilities, and organisations for people with disabilities (OPD).

Pak Eko Harsono, Project Manager of PR YAKKUM, emphasised the community's desire for actionable steps guided by their input, following the principle of "nothing about us without us."

PRISMA Team Leader, Mohasin Kabir shared how critical the issue is:

“The importance of integrating disability inclusion in the agricultural sector cannot be overstated, especially considering that close to 50 per cent of persons with disabilities rely on agriculture for their livelihood.”  

A set of guidelines developed with the community

At the workshop, agribusinesses were guided through a step-by-step process to involve farmers with disabilities. This process included gathering data on disability rates in an area and organizing in-person activities for educating and marketing to farmers, with a focus on making sure farmers with disabilities were invited and could take part.

This process is outlined in the Accessibility Guidelines created specifically for agribusinesses by PRISMA and PR YAKKUM, with input from farmers with disabilities.

The event also highlighted the important role of OPDs in breaking down barriers and connecting agribusinesses with farmers who have disabilities. OPDs have existing relationships with farmers with disabilities and can help connect companies with these farmers in a meaningful way.

Bapak Nugroho, one of the panellists from the Association of People with Disabilities in Klaten (PPDK), said:

“We need to shift the common paradigm that people with disabilities are beneficiaries of assistance, but to see them as the subject of development who have the equal right to fully participate. Involving disability community in the agribusiness chain can support this paradigm shift.”

As the population ages, more farmers are facing disabilities such as vision, hearing, and mobility impairments. Thirty-nine percent of farmers over 55 encounter these challenges. Understanding farmers’ perspectives will become increasingly critical.

Disabilities cover a wide range of challenges. When understood and accommodated, these challenges can unlock the potential of farmers, providing an opportunity for businesses to innovate, expand, and make a social impact.

Bapak Nugroho representing PPDK (Paguyuban Penyandang Disabilitas Klaten), a local OPD in Klaten, Central Java, Bapak Julius Eklemis, owner of seed company in Flores, NTT, and Bapak Robert from KATALIS, a DFAT-funded program. 

A fresh approach yields results

From left to right, Bapak Ariyanto, NuFeed distributor agent (who helped Ibu Martini in demo plot and encouraged her to become sub-agent), Bapak Purwanto, Ibu Martini's husband who is also a farmer, NuFeed Agent, Ibu Martini and Bapak Totok, NuFeed Operational Director

We must widen our horizons because opportunities are out there waiting for us

PT NuFeed International Indonesia (NuFeed), a partner of PRISMA and an animal feed company, shared its approach to engaging dairy farmers with disabilities at the event.

“We must widen our horizons because opportunities are out there waiting for us,” said NuFeed Director, Pak Totok.

NuFeed worked with farmers with a disability to create a demo plot for their animal feed product, DairyMix. The demo plot helps farmers see the product's benefits firsthand and has successfully created local product champions.

By involving farmers with disabilities, NuFeed aimed to introduce the product, boost farmers' confidence, and increase sales. The company's efforts have not only widened their market but have also fostered empathy and understanding within their teams.

They sought advice from PR YAKKUM and some representatives of farmers with a disability to explore the best way to involve more farmers with disabilities 

“When we did this project, we talked with our friends with disabilities about what they need and how it matches our needs,” said Pak Totok.

Their product, DairyMix, is designed to be affordable and suitable for smallholder farmers. It helps increase milk production and farmer incomes by providing a well-balanced nutrient mix and reducing the need for farmers to collect and cut grasses for fodder.

Before, to feed their cows, farmers should mix several ingredients (pollard, bran, tofu, etc) and mix again with forage. But with DairyMix, farmers only need to mix the concentrate feed with forage. This simplified process is especially beneficial for farmers with mobility issues.

NuFeed connected with 10 farmers, including 5 with disabilities, in Boyolali, Central Java, for the demo plot. Out of the 5 farmers with disabilities involved, 2 have become feed agents.

Following the success of the demo plot, NuFeed held socialisation events to share the results widely. Again, this process engaged farmers with disabilities in attending. The result was that 35 percent of farmers at the events had disabilities.

NuFeed plans to continue the demo plot project and has learnt from this experience that it doesn't need to create a comprehensive demo plot by handing out samples while still involving people with disabilities and their networks.

“The project works well and is ongoing until now,” said Pak Totok

A Nufeed socialisation event in Central Java

Champion farmer

Ibu Martini with her diary cows in Banyuanyar Village, Central Java

With increased use of Nufeed, our cows are healthier, milk production has increased, and daily operations are more efficient.

Ibu Martini, a dairy farmer from Banyuanyar Village, participated in the NuFeed demo plot and is one of the farmers who has become a feed agent, selling the product locally. Ibu Martini has had mobility issues since childhood, and using the animal feed, DairyMix reduces her family’s workload in collecting grasses for fodder while improving the productivity of her dairy cows.

Ibu Martini shared her experience with NuFeed and as a farmer with the event participants:

“The training and resources provided during the demo plot have transformed our dairy farming. With increased use of NuFeed, our cows are healthier, milk production has increased, and daily operations are more efficient.”

“As a feed agent, we can sell 6-7 tonnes of feed per month, which has greatly enhanced my family's income and proven that disability is not a barrier to success in farming.”

Ibu Martini at the workshop in Jakarta 

What next? 

The event is part of PRISMA's Future Farmer campaign to spread innovations and inclusive practices 

We are impressed by the commitment from agribusinesses to adapt and change their approach

Spurred on by Ibu Martini and NuFeed's actions, agribusinesses shared their plans to develop more inclusive business practices at the event.

“We are impressed by the commitment from agribusinesses to adapt and change their approach. Hearing from farmers today inspired us all to look more deeply at how we can connect and foster relationships with farmers. At PRISMA, we are proud of our role in this important work,” Mohasin Kabir.

To date, as a result of PRISMA’s ongoing support to agribusinesses, 3, including Nufeed, have demonstrated their commitment to developing more inclusive farmer outreach activities and 8 agribusinesses have adopted universal design principles to improve the accessibility of their products.

To learn more about how to build inclusive business practices, please see the Accessibility Guidelines. Let’s unite to create a stronger, fairer, and more inclusive agriculture!

Pak Nasir from PRISMA highlighted the reputational impact for businesses that take a more inclusive approach

Accessibility Guidelines in Agriculture

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