The Australian Ambassador for Women and Girls Visits PRISMA and Private Sector Partners to Highlight Women’s Roles in the Agriculture Sector

Women play a vital and central role in Indonesian economic development. Yet, along with other marginalised groups, they still face higher structural and social barriers to accessing and benefitting from markets, including in the agriculture sector.

As a program that aims to accelerate poverty reduction through promoting inclusive economic growth, PRISMA is actively engaging with female farmers in agricultural innovation and improvement of knowledge and farming practices. In partnership with Corteva Agriscience™, PT Sierad Produce Tbk, and PT RUMA from Gojek Group, PRISMA develops inclusive business models that do not only ensure increased turnover for relevant market actors and farmers, but also include strategies that potentially limit barriers for female market actors to benefit from the market systems.

PRISMA’s partnership with the three partners has resulted in either a remarkable achievement and/or an upcoming plan that includes strategy for women’s economic empowerment. With Corteva, a high-quality hybrid maize seed producer, PRISMA has been working to increase the productivity and performance of maize farmers in Madura through the adoption of better farming practices and hybrid seed. As of December 2018, the partnership has given access for 6,000 female maize farmers to finance, new markets, information on good agricultural practices, and innovations. Corteva is also actively moving the organisation toward more inclusive business, targeting more women as their potential marketing segment.

With Sierad, the partnership has been focusing on the promotion of high-quality pig feed in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), the leading pig producer in Indonesia. Employing PRISMA’s gender research findings, Sierad recruited female technical sales officers to reach more female farmers who play a large role in pig rearing in the province. The introduction of commercial feed has also led to more efficient practices in pig rearing and decreased women’s workloads from 4 to 1.5 hours per day.

PT. RUMA (also known as Arisan Mapan) utilises technology to offer mostly household-related, products that could be purchased through arisan scheme and delivered to customers’ doorsteps. Just like traditional arisan in most Indonesian communities, most of arisans in Arisan Mapan are led and attended by female. With PRISMA, Arisan Mapan focuses on establishing agriculture products into Arisan Mapan portfolio. In only one month after the partnership launched in October 2019, over 100 farmers have utilised female-led Arisan Mapan groups to access high-quality, productivity-improving agricultural input, ranging from sprayers to mini tractors.

PRISMA and partners’ work to empower the roles of women in agribusiness and rural households was the highlight of the lunch meeting with the Australian Ambassador for Women and Girls, Dr. Sharman Stone at PRISMA’s Head Office on 25 November 2019. Also present were the Australian Consulate-General in Surabaya, Mr. Chris Barnes, the Counsellor for Governance and Human Development of the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, Ms. Kirsten Bishop, and other representatives from the Australian Embassy. A number of representatives from the private sector partners were invited to share information and stories on current achievement and upcoming strategies, namely Elizabeth Hernandez (Head of Government Affair and Sustainability, Asia Pacific), Prelia Moenandar (Head of Government & Industry Affairs, ASEAN), Yuana Leksana (Agronomy and New Commercialization Lead) from Corteva Agriscience, Arlyna Simatupang (Marketing Manager) from Sierad Produce, and Brena Dwita Budiarti (Strategic Partnership Manager) from Arisan Mapan.

During her remarks, Ambassador Stone applauded the initiatives and highlighted the unique roles of rural women. ”We need to understand the roles of women in the farm, whether they only contribute energy, or are they decision-makers, or are they change agents," She further underlined the opportunities for replication and scaling-up. "If we have some strategies to improve gender equality in agriculture, we have to make sure it can be replicated elsewhere."

PRISMA is committed to continuing its work with partners in mainstreaming the utilisation of gender-inclusive assessment in the implementation of innovative business cases. As of December 2018, 42% of PRISMA’s beneficiary farmers are women and the program will strive to increase the number through business models and strategies that support women and other marginalised groups.