Writer: Agriculture and Food Cluster Team
At least 9,000 small-scale farmers will receive higher rice prices as a result of the improved crop yields and better access to agricultural services, thanks to a newly signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) for sustainable rice cultivation.
The local Government of Simalungun district, North Sumatra province of Indonesia has recently signed the MoU for phase II of the Better Rice Initiative Asia (BRIA) or BRIA II project to support participating rice farmers in growing sustainable rice.
Jan Posman H. Purba, head of the district’s agricultural department expressed his appreciation for the continued collaboration for the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) BRIA phase II project, facilitated by Olam International and German Cooperation Agency (GIZ).
“Thanks to GIZ for selecting Simalungun district as the only working area of the BRIA II project in Indonesia. We are also very happy that GIZ has cooperated with several related private sectors to help improve the well-being of farmers, especially those who work in rice fields,” Mr. Purba said in his opening remarks.
According to Mr. Sulaiman Ginting, senior advisor of the BRIA II project, Simalungun district has been selected for the project’s second phase due to its the largest producing area for paddy production in North Sumatra.
At least 9,000 small-scale farmers will participate the Farmer Field School (FFS), a group-based learning, said Mr. Ginting.
The FFS provides farmers a better understanding in the seed selection, seed treatment, effective use of fertilizer and integrated pest management.
The BRIA project has supported the training of about 3,000 farmers and their net income has increased following the training.
The project has entered its second phase, known as BRIA II to transfer agricultural technologies to farmers to boost rice production based on the sustainable rice cultivation for the farmers in selected areas.
The MoU was signed by Mr. Purba and Ms. Lisa Peterskovsky, from the BRIA II project on 3 October 2018.
More than 100 participants from related institutions, private companies, universities, media and farmers attended the event.
For the first cycle of planting season, the project will be implemented in three sub-districts, which are Hutabayu Raja, Tanah Jawa and Panombeian Pane.
Under a cooperation agreement, technology based on the Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification standards will be provided to farmers.
Furthermore, the project also facilitates the farmers to get a package of social security services which consist of the Kredit Usaha Rakyat (KUR) programme, the guaranteed microcredit from Indonesia’s largest bank, Bank Mandiri, crop insurance from PT Jasindo and social security coverage from the Employment-related Social Security Provider (BPJS Ketenagakerjaan).