"Organic farming is the form of agriculture that relies on crop rotation, green manure, compost, biological pest control, and mechanical cultivation to maintain soil productivity and control pests, excluding or strictly limiting the use of synthetic fertilizers and synthetic pesticides, plant growth regulators, livestock feed additives, and genetically modified organisms." Link to source.
"There are no apparent constraints to adoption of organic farming (in Indonesia), except psychological barrier or internal factor of actors within the NGOs' community. However, an ethical dilemma exists between ideological choices and acting as traders of organic products, which is often labeled "lubricating the oil of the capitalist machine". Another reason is a lack of confidence in supply management by most NGOs." Link to source.
Organic in Indonesia
In Indonesia, "modern organic" is ...well, new. Before the Indonesian "Green Revolution" of the 1980's, farming in Indonesia was non-chemical - or traditional organic. The Green Revolution brought chemicals, government education that using chemicals was the right thing to do, and improvements to the economy.
Indonesia is now feeling the impact of almost 30 years of chemical farming. Government subsidies and reduced work loads made government chemicals attractive. Most farms and farmers have become dependent on chemicals because the soil no longer contains any nutrients at all - a product of the "Green Revolution" and years of chemicals first and condition of the land completely ignored.
Since the "Green Revolution", an estimated two generations of farmers have "learned" that chemicals are necessary to farming. Reversing this in Indonesia is difficult on many levels - cultural, financial, educational - but it is happening.
In it's infancy, the New Organic Revolution is taking place "organically". In a third world country with the world's fourth largest population, government support is beginning but has not yet been available to all farmers.
ORGANIC FARMING DEVELOPMENT IN INDONESIA: LESSONS LEARNED FROM ORGANIC FARMING IN WEST JAVA AND NORTH SUMATRA
By increasing rice production significantly, green revolution has been the most remarkable technology in Asian countries. However, it also has negative impact on human health and the environment such as pesticide residues and land degradation. Entering the 21st century, people's awareness regarding the environment and nature has increased and a "back to nature" lifestyle has emerged. Therefore, organic farming, that does not use chemo-synthetic inputs, has become one of the alternatives, and through
The objectives of this paper are as follows: (1) to investigate the appropriate approaches for the development and extension of organic farming, (2) to give an overview of the process of organic farming development in case of West Java and North Sumatra, and (3) to investigate the importance of joint marketing of organic produce.
A survey was conducted in August 2007 in North Sumatra and from May to June 2008 in West Java. Based on the study, the environmentally friendly organic farming can contribute to higher farmers' income. It must be noted that farmers can easily convert to organic farming as it is profitable to do so. However, it is not only the matter of production, but also the matter of marketing or selling the organic produce. Hence, the joint marketing practice that has been implemented by farmer groups in West Java and North Sumatra can be one of the ways to ensure the viable marketing of organic produce.
Policy deficit - Source Third World Network
While farmers and consumers are switching to organic products, albeit very slowly, the Indonesian government has not matched this development with proper policies and programmes. The government's Go Organic 2010 programme has become mere rhetoric, with little implementation. Instead, the Indonesian government is thinking of importing chemical fertilisers as part of its Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery Revitalisation Programme.
Additionally, the organic programme is focused more on products for export and those that fetch a high price, such as coffee and cashew nuts. The government is using a corporate approach by setting up standards and a certification board. Yet, the field visit in Boyolali shows that what is needed is trust-building between farmers and consumers. Small farmers cannot afford certification and local consumers only need to go and see for themselves that the product they buy is organic. This has escaped the attention of the government.
In contrast to the government which has no national policy, strategy or programme to boost organic production, some communities are developing their own local policy. The organic Kintamani (Bali) coffee farmers, for instance, incorporate organic policies into their traditional laws governed by a traditional institution called Banjar. 'We are not allowed to use urea and other chemicals. If found to do so, we will face punishment,' said Nengah Kempel, a coffee grower. I Wayan Jamin, the head of the Subak Sukamaju (Subak is a traditional farmer grouping in Bali, based on the water system), said that adat (customary) punishment was first agreed on in 2005, in order to ensure the quality of the Kintamani coffee. There are many such initiatives coming from farmers' groups, even in the midst of a policy deficit.
Organic Fertilizers and 2010 Indonesia Organic
A plethora of 'organic fertilizers' can be found and any buyer must beware and determine if the claims are true or not. This undoubtedly will be challenging. Without government controls, any product can be called organic if it contains even a small percentage of organic ingredients - or none at all. In fact, at local village shops, 'pupuk organik' is the name given to any soil additive and is in fact chemical fertilizer. We are actively looking for documentation to help clarify 'organic fertilizer'.
With the challenge 'are organic fertilizers really organic or not' comes the challenge about what is grown and eaten. Again, the buyer must beware. Our position is that any chemical or non-natural additives in any form negate the claim that the growing and the food is organic.
"First of all, it's important to understand that there's currently no international organic certification for vegetables in Indonesia. That doesn't meant there aren't plenty of growers following best practices for sustainable agriculture in Bali -- there are, but they can't afford the high cost of international certification. Anyone who tells you that his produce is ‘organic' means he's probably growing without chemical inputs. I use ‘chemical-free' to describe this kind of produce." Ibu Kat, Greenspeak, Bali Advertiser 2009
Many businesses and farmers are transitioning to organic and will call their produce "organically grown". An often quoted standard to transition from chemical soil to non-chemical soil is five years and some certification program require seven years. During this time, Indonesian "real" organic farmers are using cow manure and compost to rebuild and fortify the soil. Their production may be lower during this time and their income as well. This is an important de-motivator for many farmers in their conversion to organic.
The cost of organic certification from an international source or an Indonesian certifying body is extremely expensive for nearly all Indonesian farmers, large or small. The record keeping is beyond small farmers capibility. Indonesian certification is not always trusted. In a country that ranks 89th of 180 countries in the world on the corruption scale, corruption is a way of life and in some cases, a way of survival.
"For export market, government policies offer no shortcuts or incentives. Government procedures are business as usual procedure, which includes illegal taxes and bribery. Certification also increase production costs. Growth of the domestic market has reportedly skyrocketed nearly around 600 percent compared to the export market in only a couple of years.
The illegal fees and bribery hurt local farmers more than large-scale producers. For example, additional charges imposed on local produce to be sold to other regions have clearly put pressure on local farmers and, in turn, reduces the competitiveness of the local products in both national and international markets.
A 2004 survey by the Regional Autonomy Watch (KPPOD) for local competitiveness revealed that the tendencies of local governments to impose discruptive fees and charges was a key factor affecting the decision of potential investors to enter Indonesia. This situation is worse since the "local mafia" also established illegal charges on organic products." Link to source.
This does not mean that you should not pursue organic in Indonesia and support the growing number of committed organic growers, distributors, projects, and processors! Your support and involvement at any level will contribute to the growth of the industry in Indonesia. Source: www.indonesiaorganic.com
Fortunately, the 'organic' consumer in Indonesia is not currently requiring organic certification. The industry is new and growing and dependent on the trust of the buyers. There are thousands of committed organic farmers who must be trusted. And we support the small farmers that cannot obtain certification but are still committed to organic for the bigger picture - health of the people, soil, water, air, animal, complete eco-system. Link to History of Organic Food
If a grower says they are organic, ask more to see their operation. If they state they are certified, ask for proof of certification and their current status.
We recommend that you know your grower and your supermarket. Farmers using only Permaculture techniques, sustainability standards, and/or natural inputs are growing organically. Source: www.indonesiaorganic.com
Link to Certification information