April 19, 2022
The 21st of April 1879 is a momentous day in Indonesian history, as it marks the birth of Raden Ajeng Kartini; a pioneer of women’s emancipation, equal opportunity, and access to education. Each year, Indonesians celebrate her birth as an acknowledgement of female perseverance in the face of patriarchal societies. Her sacrifices have allowed women in Indonesia the opportunity to build a career just as their male counterparts. For women in agriculture, this means the ability to work their own land, and be acknowledged as farmers in their own right.
Women have always had an important role in the agriculture industry. Considered to have higher levels of patience and precision than men (Hutajulu, 2015), female farmers have typically been in charge of the critical steps of seed and fertiliser procurement, seed selection, and sowing. These attributes, plus the willingness to work considerably longer hours compared to men, 11 vs 8 hours, (Azahari, 2008), make women exceptional farmers. The fact that many of them take on the double responsibility of being a farmer and a homemaker, is remarkable. Unfortunately, with the patriarchal structures still being predominant within Indonesian society, women are yet to be considered as active farmers, despite evidence of the contrary.
However, we are beginning to see some shifts from traditional thinking, with female land ownership increasing in recent years; allowing female farmers to act as the primary farmer, independent from their husband, brothers, and fathers. These shifts in thinking are critical, not only for women’s emancipation, but for the agricultural industry as a whole, as it widens the scope of who is able to contribute new knowledge and further the industry. Ermina Komala Dara, an agricultural scientist from Kalimantan invented the EKD formula that has been widely used in the production of fertilisers, feed, biopesticides, and bioherbicides. She is one of the many other examples of what these equal opportunities can mean for women: exponential development for both the individual and their focused sector.
Jiva’s platform and services are specifically built to empower smallholder farmers to make a living and grow their profits. This enables our female farmers to maximise the potential output and earning from their field autonomously, as well as to be fully involved in the weighing and the audit of their harvest. One of the examples is Mrs. Santi, one of Jiva’s farmers who used to only receive the numbers from a trader without truly understanding their accuracy. She expressed, “Before Jiva, I was a victim of my own work. I didn’t realise how the system that I have used for years has cheated me.” Mrs. Santi’s statement made us realise how what we are creating can help eliminate unfair processes that the farmers have to go through due to lack of knowledge. Now, as a Jiva farmer, she has gained the knowledge to test the scale and audit the result herself.
Our journey on empowering female farmers may start small. But with the capability that these farmers have in this era, we aim to expand and empower millions more.
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