Monday, 17 April 2017 13:07:37

Enhancing Stakeholder Support to Engage Youth into Sustainable Cocoa Production

By Admin

Ir. Bambang, MM., General Director of Estate Plantation, Ministry of Agriculture, Republic of Indonesia, delivers his key messages to the cocoa stakeholders in engaging the youths into cocoa sector. In same occasion, he opens the national seminar on youth engagement into sustainable cocoa production in Indonesia. (CSP/AH)

Makassar, April 13, 2017. Cocoa Sustainability Partnership gathers all stakeholders in cocoa sector, especially young agri-entrepreneur, government, cocoa and chocolate processing factories, academicians, and program implementers of cocoa development and youth empowerment, into a national seminar entitled as “Enhancing Stakeholders Support to Engage Youth into Sustainable Cocoa Production.” This seminar formulates the recommendation that can be followed-up by the cocoa stakeholders in stressing out the steps and roles of each party.

By inviting the speakers and resource persons with wide experience and knowledge on studies of youths and its relation to farming and agriculture sectors, this seminar is expected can identify the updated conditions, particularly the government policy and programs in engaging youth into agriculture sectors. Furthermore, the seminar is also aimed as a scope for sharing the best practices and lesson-learnt of youth participation in agriculture sector, improving the understanding of cocoa value chain which is potential for youths, and to develop recommendations for all stakeholders in engaging the interest of youth to be able participated in agriculture sectors, especially for sustainable cocoa sector in Indonesia.

Indonesia as the third largest cocoa production in the world, after Ivory Coast and Ghana, since 2000 had experienced decreasing in value of domestic cocoa production and productivity. It can be declared that with this decreasing production and productivity, we had lost approximately 30% from total value of domestic cocoa production. 

The cocoa sector in this country is a strategic commodity where about 1.7 million of smallholders cocoa farmers gain income for their livelihoods. The decreasing value of cocoa production and productivity is caused by several main factors, such as aging plantation and plantation diseases.

Moreover, the age of those farmers are more than 45 years old in average, and it needs to be anticipated by stimulating youths to work in cocoa sectors. The urbanization and interest to work at the farming are the main obstacles in accelerating the changes in cocoa sectors. The interest of youth to work in the rural areas is also decreasing, then most of them are staying in the urban areas with a reason for better and decent income sources. The productive lands in the rural areas are abandoned and not optimally cultivated. The aging plantations are not well-treated by the farmers who are not young anymore. The choice of being farmers is regarded as less interest one for youths.

The cocoa sector is a significant one for the government. Thus, we, as government, are always affording to increase the focuses of government on this sector, including the supports that can improve the interest of youths to cocoa sectors. Some government programs had been designed to increase the participation of youths into this sector,” as Ir. Bambang, MM., General Director of Estate Plantation, Ministry of Agriculture, said. He is stressing out that in stimulating the youths in cocoa sectors, it needs breakthrough which is applicable with the farmers’ aspiration. He also cites that the business model is changed from conventional to a movement of instituted community economic development, as LEM (Lembaga Ekonomi Masyarakat/Community Economic Organization). And this organization should be supported with technology package to stimulate the business growth.

Improving the interest of youth toward cocoa sectors is one of the targets of 2020 Roadmap for Sustainable Indonesian Cocoa of CSP, aside to double the Indonesian cocoa production and productivity,” the Executive Director of CSP, Rini Indrayanti, said. “The youth is key stakeholders in ensuring the sustainability of Indonesian cocoa sector in the future. CSP as national platform for public-private partnership for development of sustainable cocoa in Indonesia, observes that the concern of stakeholders which had been established until now needs to be improved its role in supporting the efforts in mobilizing the youths to make cocoa sector as competitive sector and profit economical benefits for them in order to provide interest for youth to be engaged into this sector.

From the presentations of the speakers and resource persons, it can be withdrawn the problem that is experienced by youth is the lack of access to land, information, knowledge, financial, and less support from various parties. Furthermore, it is shown that the interest and willingness of youth to be engaged into agriculture sector, especially cacao, are still high. 

Syamsul Haris, 21 years old, one of the key young farmers who shares his experience in this session, convinces that cacao can provide him a decent life. But, he knows that in order to achieve this condition, it needs hard work as his parents had performed. The success of his parents had stimulated him to participate in cultivating cacao in his village. Syamsul had planted cacao by himself on one hectare land as legacy from his parents in Limboro Rambu-Rambu Village, District of Majene, West Sulawesi. “I am lucky that my parents had given me a land, but I don’t have any work capital. In order to gain this financial support, I work to help my parents in their land, and the income that I gain then I invest it to my land,” Syamsul who is pursuing his degree at University of West Sulawesi said. His dreams is to be a successful farmer and taking part in developing his village.

Masnawati, 22 years old, who is also sharing her experience as key young farmer, had initiated her planting materials garden since she was graduated from SMK 1 Tomoni, District of East Luwu, South Sulawesi, in 2012. The result of the garden had supported her in achieving the bachelor degree of Politani Pangkep. Her dream is to develop her planting materials garden and to start the farming equipment store, aside of keeping the cocoa productivity in her land, more than one ton per hectare. (CSP/AH/RI/IS)

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