Early May, Aliansi Petani Padi Organik Boyolali (APPOLI) successfully exported certified organic rice to Belgium. Following this first export of rice from APPOLI, another is scheduled to Germany at the end of July 2013, after which APPOLI will export to several other countries.
The organic rice exported to Belgium and other countries received IMO certification for standards including European Organic, Japan Agriculture Standards (JAS), United States organic certification (USDA), and Fair Trade in 2012.
APPOLI works with Bloom Agro to market organic rice on the international market.
APPOLI’s success in exporting organic rice is the result of the hard work this farmer organisation has put in to building organic Internal Control Systems (ICS) in its member groups. APPOLI currently has three internationally certified farmer groups, and another three will be getting national certification (SNI). APPOLI has been applying ICS since 2010, and currently 18 of its farmer groups implement ICS. Due to funding constraints, certification is being carried out in stages.
In applying ICS and the certification process, APPOLI receives technical assistance in the field from Lembaga Studi Kemasyarakatan dan Bina Bakat (LSKBB). Boyolali district government also plays a major role, as all activities are coordinated with this local authority. The agriculture, estates and forestry agencies at district and provincial levels have been of great help with the certification process.
An event to mark the first export of APPOLI organic rice on 10 May 2013 was attended by Boyolali district head Seni Samudro, representatives of Boyolali district parliament, the farmer groups and Bloom Agro, and the VECO Indonesia Regional Representative.
In his address, the Boyolali district head said that he hoped APPOLI would be able to maintain the quality of its products so that exports of its organic rice would continue. These exports, said the district head, were the pride of Boyolali district. “Boyolali district government is ready to support the farmers to develop their farming enterprises and to assist with organic rice certification across the district,” added the district head.
The VECO Indonesia Regional Representative noted that what APPOLI had achieved was the result of the farmers’ hard work, APPOLI’s development of modern business management, and the cooperation of all stakeholders, including LSKBB, which supported development in the field, and local government, which consistently supports the farmers.
Emily Soetanto from Bloom Agro believes that supporting farmer organisations like APPOLI is the way forward in business. The cooperation between APPOLI and Bloom Agro is a long-term partnership. Bloom Agro has pledged to send eight containers from APPOLI this year, and even more next year.
Naturally, the farmers benefit from this process, too. Those who have certification are included on the list of approved farmers who are allowed to sell organic rice to APPOLI. Premium prices are paid for their dried, unhulled rice when it is weighed upon arrival at the APPOLI warehouse. APPOLI then processes and packs the organic rice. The farmers are happy to be free from middlemen and moneylenders, and to be paid directly by APPOLI. And for APPOLI, this process is important as a business unit that generates additional profits for its members.