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Indonesian former lawyer and entrepreneur Helianti Hilman created a social enterprise overseeing the marketing and distribution of artisanal products. She created a network of 50000 smallholder farmers from Indonesia.

The 44 year old woman travelled to a village in the West Java and observed the relationship between indigenous farmers and agriculture, as it “was much more than just growing organic”she decided to establish her  organisation called Javara.

There were several reasons for her decision. First of all, it was a poverty of the local farmers. They are influenced by big palm oil producers and other forest users, because Indonesia is still trying to establish and enforce collective rights of the use of the land.

Secondly, Hilman considered the sustainable reasons. In the 70s, the government encouraged farmers to agricultural extension practices, a so-called Green Revolution: an indigenous people rejected this idea of modernity, and decided to continue with traditional methods. The diversity of plants and seeds offered by the farmers is both good for business and climate change, but these varieties are still at a risk.

A nonprofit group called International Union of Forest Research Organisations (IUFR) reported the importance of indigenous communities in the fight of climate change. It is underlining a need to combine traditional and scientific knowledge for the sake of forests and food security.

Indonesia is facing a challenge: the farmers live in remote areas and have no knowledge about marketing and promoting themselves.

In 2009, when Hilman got involved, a deal with Ranch Market (a premium supermarket in Jakarta) to stock two-dozen varieties of the farmers’rice was made. After the agreement was signed, others have followed, and right now indigenous products are trendy.


The gLAWcal Team

POREEN project

Monday, 29 June 2015

(Source:The Guardian)