|Investing in lead farmers and farmers groups through Public Private Producer Partnership: READSI Indonesia
|Dr. Ir. Siti Amanah MSc, Suprehatin, Elvira Iskandar, Lani Eugenia , Ranny M. Chaidirsyah
Agricultural human capital investment (AHCI) in Indonesia is crucial for spurring innovation, farm management decision-making and empowering smallholders. The Rural Empowerment and Agricultural Development Scalingup Initiative (READSI), funded by The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in Indonesia, is a programme that aims to eliminate rural poverty by empowering small farmers by increasing incomes and strengthening farmer institutions. This case study adds perspectives on investing in lead farmers and farmer groups with Public–Private Producer Partnerships (4P) through READSI. The objective was to learn how READSI increased knowledge and capabilities in farmers to improve farm productivity and group performance. The study was conducted in South Sulawesi, the largest cocoa production zone in Indonesia and the only area that has developed 4P for cocoa development. The Context, Input, Process and Product (CIPP) and Knowledge, Attitudes, Skills and Aspirations (KASA) models were used to evaluate how READSI builds human capital for participants. Data were collected from programme documents, reports and key informant interviews (KII). Key informants were selected based on their role and responsibility in READSI and included donor representatives, government representatives and private sector staff, farmers and village facilitators). Criteria for the farmer informants were intended for cocoa farmers, members of cocoa farmer groups, those who joined READSI, participated in farmer field schools (FFS) and were available for interviews. This study gathered information about the criteria for selecting farmers from the National Project Management Office (NPMO) and crosschecked whether the farmers were available on the phone. A total of 31 interviews were held and were analysed using NVivo software. Results suggest that training provided in READSI affected the knowledge of the farmers in agronomy, garden sanitation, harvest and postharvest. Lead farmers who completed a month-long training on cocoa were prepared to be cocoa doctors, whose role was to provide the cocoa extension services needed by the farmers. READSI used Training of Trainers (ToT) to equip farmers to be FFS facilitators. FFS were used as the learning medium following ToT for implementing good agricultural practices (GAP) on cocoa production. Results show that there was an improvement in farmer knowledge, skills, and perceptions on producing cacao following GAP requirements. The changes included seeding, grafting, pruning, composting and harvesting skills. Key farmer informants expressed the view that FFS enrich practices in cocoa production, and farmer interviewees stated that learning modern cocoa production is needed to improve cocoa bean quality. The study concludes that READSI has helped farmers to strengthen the farmer groups in learning and working together to access cocoa bean markets. READSI can be seen as a support system that helps farmers to develop a quality product as well as human capital.