In the District of Ende, cocoa is an important crop to improve the livelihood of local farmers. In this district, Rikolto supports SIKAP -Nangapanda Cocoa Farmers' Cooperative- by training farmers to implement sustainable agriculture practices and mentoring them to adopt inclusive business practices so they can produce a quality product and sell it with a better price. The majority of cocoa famers in Ende are old farmers. Based on our evaluation in 2017, almost 80 per cent of farmers attending training and participating in collective marketing were above 35 years old, showing less representation of young people in the sector.
Where did young people go? Based on our observation, millennials in Ende look for a job in the city after completing their education. They do not see and are not aware of any lucrative opportunities in cocoa sector. Some of them find cocoa farming old-fashioned. They also do not have enough knowledge and skills to manage farming activities and businesses because they never learn about it at schools or from their parents. At the moment, there is limited space for millennials to share insights and experiment on agriculture business ideas. There is not enough platforms for them to meet their peers or mentors to consult to when they have agri-business ideas they want to develop. With all these factors, millennials in Ende are slowly leaving the cocoa farming.
To attract millennials to participate in the cocoa value chain, Rikolto works with a millennial organiser, Remaja Mandiri Community (RMC) Detusoko to launch Youth Entrepreneurship Lab (YEL) on April 7th, 2019 in Ende, East Nusa Tenggara. The event attracted 20 millennials from various backgrounds such as college students, farmers' children and members of youth organisations. On this occasion, we invited speakers from a Bali-based NGO [E]thical (Saniy A Priscila and Irma), SIKAP (Hasbi Ahmad), Tananua Foundation (Herry Se), UKM Pelita (Sisilia Ngura) and RMC Detusoko (Ovyn Wangge and Nando Watu) to share to the audience about their entrepreneurship and agribusiness experiences.