VECO promotes new social-economic development programme with stakeholders

VECO promotes new social-economic development programme with stakeholders

in News

Vredeseilanden and the Government of Indonesia have had a long and fruitful relationship. Through Vredeseilanden’s Country Office (VECO) in Indonesia, smallholder farmers have been enabled and supported to take up their role in rural poverty alleviation and to contribute to sustainably feeding a growing world population. Recognising the importance of this positive relationship, in January 2017, VECO Indonesia and the Ministry of Home Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to extend the duration of cooperation to another three years starting from 2017 until 2020.

In addition to further extending the time length of the cooperation, the MoU also expanded the scope of VECO Indonesia's partnership with the Government of Indonesia. Within the three-year timeframe VECO Indonesia seeks to work on strengthening socio and economic development for smallholder farmers through rural institutions capacity development in 25 districts and four cities spread across eight provinces in Indonesia. By working with village governments, smallholder farmers would benefit in acquiring support needed to expand their businesses, in turn, making rural communities more independent and sustainable. The program will also increase the village capacities to become more independent in obtaining economic opportunities based on their local resources.

The new approach which strives for an inclusive and sustainable food system includes VECO promoting good practices, promoting sustainable production, strengthening rural farmer organisations, strengthening village institutions, turning farmer groups into entrepreneurs, and connecting farmers with major buyers. This approach also emphasises the importance of empowering women and youth in the farming value chain as well as promoting sustainable production and consumption.

VECO's new approach is not only focused on the development of smallholder farmers. The new approach will also engage companies to assist them in rethinking their supply chain, to collaborate with commodity platforms, while also encouraging governments to create an enabling environment to support the establishment of “food smart cities” – educate consumers on healthy food and decrease food waste in cities.

To promote this new approach, VECO rolled-out a series of workshops and meetings with the Village Empowerment Agencies at the Provincial and District levels. Initiating this series was a workshop held in Rantepao, the capital of North Toraja District in the Province of South Sulawesi which took place on 10-11 July 2017. The Village Empowerment Agencies of the province of South Sulawesi and the districts of Enrekang, North Toraja, North Luwu and East Luwu, as well as coffee and cocoa farmer organisations in the respective districts which have partnered with VECO over the years, attended the workshop.

Mrs. Catur Utami Dewi, VECO Indonesia Programme Director and Mr. Peni Agustijanto, VECO Indonesia Cocoa Sector Manager delivered a detailed presentation in Rantepao on VECO Indonesia’s new approach. The presentation was received well by the participants, especially those representing local governments who were eager in seeing smallholder farmers from their districts succeed and promote their commodities in the global market. In a panel discussion held after the presentation, government representatives voiced their support for smallholder farmers. They also endorsed the 2017 annual work plan which includes joint technical assistance programmes between VECO Indonesia, the provincial government and district governments for smallholder farmers.

Following the success of the first workshop and meeting series held in North Toraja District in South Sulawesi Province, VECO Indonesia will be organising similar activities in provinces of Jambi, West Java, Central Java, East Nusa Tenggara, and West Sulawesi.