PRISMA Continues to Support Indonesian Agriculture Market Amidst the Global Pandemic

COVID-19 has brought many implications to the social and economic aspects in all nations, including Indonesia. The agriculture sector is also taking the effect and putting the lives and livelihoods of smallholder farming households at risk. In the wake of the global pandemic, PRISMA stands deeply committed to supporting the government, private sector partners and smallholder farmers to ensure the continuity of Indonesian agricultural supply chain.

Amidst the crisis, smallholder farming households will struggle to access markets for buying essential inputs, planting crops, hiring labours, and selling harvested produce. The social distancing measures imposed in certain areas have disrupted the agricultural supply chain. With the tourism industry taking a massive hit, farmers can no longer sell their produce to hotels and/or restaurants due to the closure of businesses. Farmers’ limited access to alternative off-takers resulted to oversupply of commodities and caused lower prices for farmer’s produce. In contrast, consumers in most urban areas have seen a surge in the commodity price due to the increasing demand that is not being met with enough supply.

The pandemic has also raised concerns over the safety of work and business operations. Agricultural market players, including businesses and farmers, must be aware of the risks they are exposed to, for instance when handling crops or interacting with other people, to avoid the further spread of the virus and to put their health as a priority. The limited movement also requires businesses to review their business strategy on how they reach their consumers and take creative approaches in ensuring that the flow of information and products can be sustained.

In order to ensure that the markets continue functioning during this pandemic, PRISMA works to support key market actors to provide goods and services to the farming households. Furthermore, PRISMA will continue supporting our partners to address the constraints in each agriculture value chain, through the following strategic approaches:

  • Supporting partner organisations and key market actors with market insights: PRISMA is well-positioned to collect information from the field, analyse the ongoing trends and share insights on the farmers’ behaviour change, product and service development, new business opportunities, and such.   
  • Supporting partners to develop alternative marketing and product distribution strategies: PRISMA will support companies to re-connect with their target customers by integrating them with the retailers and key farmers through various online platforms i.e., SMS gateway, WhatsApp, local media etc.   
  • Supporting policy makers with information and evidences: PRISMA will gather information from field and analyse new constraints emerging due to the pandemic. These will be used to support policy makers to take action to minimise the impact of COVID-19.
  • Improving partners’ ICT capacities to continue promotional events at the farm level: this will include among others, digitising the operational system including monitoring farm level activities, opening official store account in the marketplace for online channels, introducing online training for retailers and key farmers and interactive call centres for farmers.  
  • Facilitating supply chain linkage: having a wider connection with companies in various industries, PRISMA can facilitate linking complementary market actors.
  • Connecting traders, intermediary service providers with financial institutes: PRISMA will ensure the needs and interests of the Small, and Medium Enterprise (SME) and farmers are accounted for and that collectors are acting responsibly and in accordance with the flexibility provided by the government in response to the crisis. PRISMA will also support the development of flexible products to allow for diverse repayment schedules in accordance with seasonality and business cash flow.
  • Supporting off-taking functions during the crisis period: In the downstream market, the online marketplace is not usually used in food crop marketing and sales. However, the COVID-19 pandemic possibly would change the traditional supply chain. Therefore, PRISMA is engaging with the online marketplace both for household and industry consumption to ensure supply and demand compatibility.

It is hard to estimate the real impact of COVID-19 as the situation changes every day. PRISMA will monitor the development of the situation and adapt its response strategy to best serve the interest of the Indonesian farmers. PRISMA is continuously collecting information and analysis from various sources and supporting its partners to respond to the pandemic.