Public-private partnership in the agricultural sector was again reflected in the enaction of the Minister of Agriculture Decree (Kepmentan) No 40/2020 concerning the Growth and Development of Independent Agricultural Extension and Private Agricultural Extension in Palm oil Plantation Areas Based on Farmer Economic Institutions.
With 2.6 million smallholders working around 6 million hectares of palm oi larea, Indonesia has a big task to ensure sufficient knowledge and capacity of smallholders in sustainable palm oil production.
In 2020, the number of agriculture extension workers is just under 74,000 personnel, including civil servant, contract, independent and private extension workers. This significant gap requires extra work and budget; and relying on 100% of the state budget to hire extension workers can pose risks.
Therefore, a significant increase in the number of independent and private agricultural extension workers will be a solution in reducing this significant gap. Sufficient number of extension workers will lead to proper capacity building and organizational development of smallholders, and better provision of agricultural inputs.
MoA Decree No 40/2020 is the legal umbrella that aims to strengthen and foster independent and private agricultural extension services in palm oil producing areas.
This will enable palm oil company and independent extension workers to assist and strengthen the capacity, technical capacity, and group organization of independent smallholders around their concession areas, particularly those involved in the palm oil replanting (PSR) program.
To disseminate this policy, UNDP SPOI facilitated a series of meetings on 25 May and 17 June 2021. The first meeting was aimed at private sector stakeholder groups while the second meeting was aimed at regional plantation authorities.
These series of meetings involved several institutions within the Ministry of Agriculture, namely the Directorate of Marketing and Plantation Product Processing (PPHP), the Agricultural Extension and Human Resources Development Agency (BPPSDMP), and the Agricultural Extension Center.
At the first meeting, Dedi Junaedi, Director of Marketing and Processing of Plantation Products, gave a speech about why the private sector needs to be partnered with to develop agricultural extension.
“This meeting specifically invites private plantation companies that have experience in conducting outreach to their smallholder partner. We hope that they share their experiences in implementing smallholder extension programme. Hopefully, the sharing information from the private sector will be an inspiration and motivation in the preparation of the Action Plan for the Implementation of Kepmentan 40/2020," he said.
During the meeting, Mr. Olivier Tichit, Director of Sustainable Supply Chain Musim Mas Group, shared many important lessons in implementing field outreach programs field. There are three main lessons that he conveyed during the meeting. The first lesson is time. Extension workers must be prepared to be in the field for longer duration and interact intensively with smallholders.
The second lessons learning is skill. Extension workers stationed in the field need to have adequate capacity and capability. Then the last one is the collaboration between local governments and private companies to support sustainable extension programs.
This policy is expected to accelerate the implementation of Presidential Instruction No 6/2019 concerning the National Action Plan for Sustainable Palm oil2019 – 2014 especially in component B regarding capacity building and the capability of smallholders.
Digital copy of Ministry of Agriculture Decree No 40/2020 (Bahasa Indonesia) can be downloaded at this link.