How can small farmers in Asia tolerate both climate change?

How can small farmers in Asia tolerate both climate change? With changing weather patterns and temperatures, farmers are increasingly at risk at the threshold of global food production. What are your biggest challenges? Are technological innovations enough to support them?

Cambodian Rice Farmers

In Asia, more than 450 million small farmers support most of the food supply. Despite their small land size, they produce up to 80 percent of the food consumed in the region. But these farmers are currently facing a double crisis: climate change and the epidemic. One of the effects of the epidemic is that it has focused its attention on areas that have long been important to agriculture in Asia.

The key to protecting our food supply lies in protecting our farmers. ”Chris Agrinata, Director of Business Sustainability, Asia Pacific, International Agribusiness Syngenta. In a webinar titled Brave New World from Farming: Empowering Asia’s Farmers in the Age of Climate Change, he said the epidemic, along with erratic rainfall patterns and rising temperatures, have deepened current challenges that small farmers face to access finance.

Brave New World from Farming

Empowering Asia’s Farmers in the Age of Climate Change. Industry leaders speaking at a webinar deserve a brave new world of agriculture – empowering Asian farmers in an era of climate change. Banks are taking a more cautious approach to credit during the epidemic. In India, loans to the agricultural sector have contracted by 1.8 percent during the epidemic, forcing farmers to turn to informal private lenders.

Who can often take advantage of the situation by raising interest rates to 60 percent. cent, he said. But at the same time, the epidemic has also highlighted the importance of food security. Which has played a positive role for farmers in the Philippines, and Cheri Cherillo, as a farmer and president of Agri, said that Filipino farmers established a business. agricultural. The epidemic has changed the way the government responds to farmers.

Attilano said that despite all the challenges facing the agricultural sector, it contributes positively to our GDP from a negative 0.5 percent to a positive 1.6 percent. As a result, the agricultural sector is ultimately seen as a priority and has been allocated a larger financial budget. He said the epidemic also linked strong alliances between public and private actors with agriculture. Farmers are innovative, they will come up with as many ideas as scientists can.

Technology & Innovation

To support farmers against the threats of climate change, speakers agreed that technological innovation and smart agricultural technology would be one of the main drivers. But at the same time, there may not be a permanent solution to these advancing climate crises.

There are no silver bullets. This will be a gradual evolution of different technologies, simultaneously gaining momentum and making things better, said Mark Shepherd, a scientist at AgResearch. A New Zealand research agency. He said that many digital technologies have been developed on large farms, but they also have advantages over small farms.

“For small farms, they have yet to prove that the technologies deliver results. But when they are compliant, the data we collect can help with decision making and improve the efficiency of their systems, ”he said.

Small farmers in Asia

Citing the example of animal husbandry in New Zealand, Shepherd mentioned that with increasing data collection, scientists can now measure methane emissions from cows and sheep to establish low-emission animal husbandry programs.

Paul Nicholson, vice president of Olam International, said that at the same time, there is a lack of funding for types of research and technologies in agriculture, as the area is ignored in the debate on climate change. More investment in research is important to drive the change we need in agriculture, he said.

Can Small Farmers Reach Scale?

One of the main problems facing agribusiness is how to generate large-scale changes, especially with small farmers, Argentina said. “An important question is: how do we encourage the sustainable adoption of innovations?” Argentina asked. “I think it starts with confidence in terms of financing solutions for small farmers.

You have to trust that changing farming practices and adopting new small-scale methods will continue to add value,” he said. Although digital platforms and technological innovations are being developed, at the end of the day there is a need for a parallel intervention in the physical infrastructure, Atilano said.

“Our first step is to strengthen small farmers in collaboration with the government. Most of the time, it is easy for a group of farmers to get a loan from a bank and get additional help from the government or private institutions. “No one is working to strengthen farmers and many cooperatives are failing. These cooperatives first need assistance in management and governance, ”he said.

To enable change with farmers, empowering them with knowledge is an important stage in the process, Shepherd said. “Farmers are innovative, they will bring as many ideas as scientists can. My experience is giving them the scientific principles behind the changes we want to see, combined with the support and infrastructure will allow them to make changes, ”he said.

Improvement Of Women And Youth In Agriculture

Although 40 per cent of men in small powers are women, they face disproportionate influence in the agricultural sector and face legal obstacles. For example, many women do not own land and do not participate in the decision-making process. To work around it, the first step is to identify the roles that women play in agriculture, on and off the farm.

While women may not own the land, they often control family income and decide how to spend the money. “We analyze what are your priorities and priorities to spend your money. Atilano said: “We also offer money donation programs, so they learn how to raise their money as a business.

For young people, many of them practice sustainable agriculture, seeking a purpose other than profit, Atilano noted. Young people are also interested in technological innovations and improving agricultural practices.

Attilano found that young professionals who had lost their jobs during the epidemic decided to return to their parents’ farms and help them grow their businesses. “This is interesting because before this, many farmers did not ask their children to follow in their footsteps and become doctors and engineers.

Small farmers in Asia
Small farmers in Asia

But now, young people want to help their parents by moving to rural areas. We would appreciate if you would consider joining as a member of EB Circle. It helps make our stories and resources free to all, and it also supports independent journalism dedicated to sustainable development. For a small donation of S $ 60 a year, your help will make a big difference.

According To A New Report, Land Conflicts In Indonesia Escalated. Are palm oil firms, the hungry ‘palm oil’ behind the spike in land grabbing in Indonesia? According to a new report, land conflicts in Indonesia escalated, and palm oil and pulpwood companies benefited from aggressive sanctions.

A native tribe in Indonesia’s North Maluku province is under constant threat from illegal logging and the expansion of mining leases. Conflicts over land erupted in Indonesia, when indigenous and rural communities tried to shut down pulp, palm oil and logging companies during the cov-19 epidemic.

Weak economy

According to the Conservatory for Agrarian Reform (KPA), an NGO that advocates for increased activity despite the economic slowdown due to the government’s response. And suggested that companies take advantage of the situation to claim that the disputed area was collecting Por rights to rural land.

In its year-end report, the KPA recorded land conflicts above 133 in the same period of 2019 between April and September 2020. The 2019 cases occurred during a strong economy, when GDP grew by 5.01 percent. percent. While the 2020 cases were recorded during Indonesia’s first recession in two decades, when the economy declined 4.4 percent.

KPA Secretary General Davey Karthika said that while the increase in the number of disputes is small. It is highly unusual given that such cases tend to decline during a weak economy when companies stop their investment and expansion plans. For all of 2020, the KPA recorded 249 land disputes involving 359 villages and spanning an area of 624,272 hectares (1.54 million acres).

Large-scale land grabbing in Indonesia

In 2008, during the last global recession, the KPA identified only 24 land conflicts in Indonesia, Dewey said. The increase in violence is ironic as we are currently facing many crises due to the cov-19 epidemic. Social unrest [measures] do not prevent violence and are not effective in preventing violent and oppressive actions on the ground.

Devi Karthika, Secretary General, Consortium for Agrarian Reform (KPA). We concluded that there was a massive land grab in the middle of the epidemic, he said at the report’s launch. She said that companies took advantage of disruptive social measures imposed by the government.

Which restricted protests such as riots and restricted gatherings that are a key component of defending rural land rights. This is especially evident in the area of plantations (mainly palm oil) and in the area of pulpwood and logging, commonly known as forestry, which has long been associated with deforestation and large-scale land grabbing in Indonesia.

Physical violence

The negative economic downturn of 200 percent [in 2020] would have no implications for these industries, particularly the plantation and forestry sectors, Dewey said. Because plantations and forestry]. Which have become a classic source of agricultural problems in Indonesia, were actually a significant increase [in conflict in 2020].

The plantation area is very hungry, he said. And often collides with the settlements of the people. The agricultural land and the plantations of the local population. Controversies have also been fatal. Eleven people died, 19 experienced some form of physical violence, and 134 faced criminal charges.

Almost all the Indians were farmers or workers and for the increase in violence, it is ironic because we are currently facing a lot of crises due to the Covid-19 epidemic, Dewey said. Social unrest [measures] do not prevent violence and are not effective in preventing violent and oppressive actions on the ground.

Trouble On The Farm

The center of rival claims with local communities who accuse them of occupying communal or ancestral territories, with local communities claiming land. The plantation sector accounted for the majority of these disputes, 122 cases in 2020, with a KPA report or a 28 percent increase from the previous year.

In 101 of these cases, the companies were palm oil companies. The forestry sector accounted for 41 conflicts in 2020, up from 20 in 2019. Together, these two regions were at the center of 69 percent of all land conflicts in Indonesia in 2020.

“This drawing of agricultural conflicts reminds us once again that the large-scale plantation system and practices in Indonesia have many structural problems that are acute and systemic,” Dewey said.

This is evident from the fact that it is not only in 2020, but the plantation sector has contributed to the largest number of consecutive agricultural conflicts in the last five years. He said plantation companies were able to seize land thanks to favorable laws and regulations.

Dewey noted that many plantation companies involved in the conflict have also partnered with major Indonesian and foreign groups as subsidiaries or suppliers or partners.

Affiliate groups mentioned in the KPA report are Sinar Mass Group, Salim Group, Surya Dumai Group, Darmax Agro Group, Sampurna Agro, Triputra, Gudang Garam and Texmaco from Indonesia. Wilmer, First Resources and APRIL, based in Singapore; UK-based Unilever and main oil shale between the UK and the Netherlands; Kargil, the American commodity trading giant.

The South Korean-Indonesian joint venture Corindo; Garine Development of Hong Kong and Willie Wood Investments. And the Japanese trading house Marubeni. Several similar companies have been involved in conflicts in the forestry sector, such as SAPRIL, Sinar Mas, Marubeni and Texmako, together with the Indonesian state forestry company Perum Pututani.

Dewey said: “The companies that committed the most violence with the escalation [of conflicts] in 2020 are the affiliates of the Sinar Mass Group, launched by its subsidiary PT Virarikya Shakti [WKS] in Zambi.” Residents of Lubuk Mandarsa village in Jambi’s Sumitran province have been embroiled in a dispute since 2007 over more than 2,000 hectares (4,940 acres) of ancestral lands claimed by the WKS, growing acacias to make wood pulp and paper.

Villagers are alleged to have committed violations by the company in March last year. When WKS allegedly flew a drone to spray herbicides on villagers’ crops. That same month, the company filed a police complaint against one of the villagers, accusing him and other locals of trespassing on company land.

At the same time, villagers said they faced threats from WKS representatives, along with two unidentified individuals, to hand over their land. In April 2020. A soldier with WKS personnel fired two warning shots in the presence of a farmer. According to the KPA report, in September and December 2020, WKS razed residents’ fields.

Dewey said: We noticed that from the beginning of the epidemic from March to September, [WKS] often carried out repressive actions and land grabs against farmers in Zambi. Therefore, the attention of the Ministry of Environment and Forests is necessary.

We have complained many times to the Ministry. He said that the land conflict with the pulpwood industry is still plagued, there is an urgent need for improvement. The practices of these companies have led to land monopolies by large-scale corporations, Dewey said.

For example, Sinar Mass Group controls more than 26,000 hectares [64,200 acres] of land in Jambi alone, resulting in land grabbing, manipulation of permit sizes and violence. Infrastructure is another factor in the high number of territorial disputes in the last year.

On 30 infrastructure-related dispute centers projects, which the government has promoted as of “national strategic importance,” including airports, toll roads, dams and ports. This infrastructure, known as the “ubiquitous job creation law” because of the controversial deregulation list, is expected to be passed last year amid universal criticism from Parliament.

Activists say the law favors commercial interests and bypasses rural communities and indigenous peoples, among other things, extending government power to areas designated as special economic zones, tourist zones and industrial areas.

The bus law also limits the opportunities in an area to ask the public to approve infrastructure projects. “In the future, it is anticipated that [land disputes] will continue due to the omnipresent law,” Dewan said.

A “national strategic” project that hopes to provoke conflicts over land is the “Food Estates” program, through which the government intends to establish large-scale agricultural properties throughout the country to boost national food production.

Areas expected to become agricultural centers under this program include North Sumatra and South Sumatra provinces in the west of the country, central Kalimantan in the Indonesian part of the island of Borneo, and Nusa Tenggara and Papua in the east.

Currently, the government is prioritizing the program in Central Kalimantan and North Sumatra, identifying 60,000 hectares (415,100 acres) of potential areas in the East and 60,000 hectares (148,200 acres) in North Sumatra.

In South Sumatra, the government plans to establish food properties on 235,351 hectares (581,500 acres) in nine districts and cities. In eastern Nusa Tenggara, an area of 5,000 hectares (12,300 acres) will be converted to an agricultural plantation in the central district of Sumba.

In Papua, the government is studying properties on 2 million hectares (4.94 million acres) in Merucay, Buwen Digoel and Mappi districts. Dewey said: The program is much faster in the process of acquiring land than the slowness of providing land for farmers.

The land of these farmers is small, while the consolidation is very fast for the purchase of land for food farms. Due to the provision of land on such a large scale, the food farm program has become a new threat in the form of large-scale land grabbing.

The activists have also expressed concern over President Joko Widodo’s decision to charge his Defense Minister Prabowo Sabianto for the program, and have raised the possibility of security in civil protests, disagreeing with such a move. Program.

Prabowo is a former Special Forces commander implicated in the disappearance of pro-democracy activists in the late 1990s. Dewey said: It is ironic that the Food Wealth Program means that agricultural reform once again is not the main option to strengthen agriculture and the ability of Indonesian farmers to be the main food producers.

All that continues is food security through food corporations, forcing the army to participate in the clearing and acquisition of land. ‘You need strong leadership’ Sugeng Purno, Deputy Representative of the Coordinating Minister for Policy, Law and Human Rights, acknowledged that conflicts over land are an ongoing problem in Indonesia.

He said that 60 percent of the conflict reports submitted to the ministry are related to land. He said this shows that the agrarian struggle is still going on. But if we want to compare it with the 1998 figures. We cannot do it because the background of the economic recession of 1998 and 2020 is very different.

The Deputy Minister of Lands and Zoning, Surya Tjandra, attributed the conflicts to large disparities in land ownership between large companies and communities. Maybe we haven’t touched on the issue of landlord access, he said.

Why is it difficult to resolve conflicts?

Because it requires very strong leadership. Surya said the administration would not be able to resolve all matters until the end of President Vidodo’s second term in 2024. But that it could at least begin laying the groundwork for a dispute resolution mechanism.

So our job is to prepare [the scheme] first, and the people who execute it will be the next ministers and deputy ministers. A recurring theme in land conflicts in Indonesia is the role of the security forces, which essentially side with companies against communities.

Arif Rahman, director of Sociological Affairs at the National Police Intelligence Department, refuted the notion that the police were bidding for companies. He said the police were only working to maintain security amid stressful conditions, and any police action against indigenous groups, small farmers, protesters and activists should not be seen as an attempt at “criminalization.”

The perception that the police are not fair depends on who they see, he said. In fact, the police are as neutral as we are with the law, but those who misbehave and feel unfair do not consider the police neutral. Arif said: The police will be safe in everything that is legal [on the ground].

But, he said, Indonesians “do not have a good knowledge of the law and therefore they often make laws to maintain the existence of the law or not to favor the common people.” Arif asked to remove the lack of clarity on land ownership.

Dewey criticized this approach to maintaining property rights without considering other factors. If the perspective is based solely on the legitimacy of land ownership. It is very dangerous because there are many farmers, villagers and farmers. Who have not been recognized [by the government] for decades, he said. It is this view that leads to a lot of evidence.

Because from the beginning, people’s lands are not being registered by the government. Dewey said that addressing conflicts over land in a meaningful way. Some of which have raged for decades, would require more than a one-size-fits-all solution.

A change is needed to see the rights of the people on their own land and correct the concept of state-owned land, he said. And also to fix the way the government and security officials deal with agricultural conflicts on the ground.

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