The quality production of Indonesia’s smallholder aquaculture farmers is important. Around 70-80% of Indonesia’s aquaculture farmers are smallholders. These smallholders farmers are struggling to improve their harvests due to absence of farming devices. Other than crop quality, the uncertainty of end-results and/or poor crop quantity hinder their chance to access broader markets. In contrast, Indonesia has a lot of technology business actors and innovators that can help these farmers. As the keys to better aquaculture production, the two stakeholders (farmers and engineers) can cooperate in a scheme that will initiate the two’s production growth.
To make the ends meet, a global initiative, AgResults, tries to resolve this issue. With WWF Indonesia as the event organizer and the support of the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries of Indonesia, AgResults launched AgResults Indonesia Aquaculture Challenge Project. This project aims to improve Indonesian smallholder aquaculture farmers’ productivity. The project opened with a webinar delivered by aquaculture experts and attended by scholars, aquaculture technology business actors, and aquaculture farmers with a total of 250 participants.
Jay Fajar, the moderator, opened the webinar with a briefing of webinar’s order for the participants during the event. The opening was followed by a chain of greetings coming from the project’s stakeholders, such as Justin Kosoris from AgResults, Gemi Triastuti from the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries of Indonesia, and Dicky P. Simorangkir as the CEO of WWF Indonesia. In their greetings, each expressed their hope for the project to platform aquaculture actors in Indonesia, especially the smallholder aquaculture farmers. Following the greetings, the speakers of the webinars then deliver their materials one by one, started by Coco Kokarkin, an aquaculturist, then Arief Arianto, an agriculture technology engineer, and Novia Priyana, a national technical advisor for UNIDO.
In his speech, Coco Kokarkin presented how the smallholder farmers hold a great contribution to Indonesia’s aquaculture. He shared his most efficient strategy for smallholder farmers to earn profit. Through his strategy, Coco advised the farmers to pick technologies that have one-phase electricity with one centralized operator and buy the device through collective collaboration with other farmers and/or technology producers. He also stated that farmers should plan their strategy well and through so they can sustain their aquaculture needs to earn more profit. Collective collaboration within farmers and with aquaculture technology producers can be the best alternative to overcome the high cost to have aquaculture technologies for smallholder farmers.
The seminar continued with presentations from Arief Arianto and Novia Priyana. The two explained that aquaculture technology and certification system can improve production. Farmers can reap benefits from using aquaculture technologies, such as easy access to finding fishes and pressure from changes in the pond’s environment. Meanwhile, certification, other than being the main requirement for their product to enter the market, gives value to the products of technology producers and farmers. Unlike Coco, the two speakers heavily directed their presentations to the technology business actors. The two emphasized why and how the technology producers and innovators can build high quality yet affordable products for smallholder farmers. Arief expressed his strategy in building a good technology design, while Novia advised the actors on how to overcome national bureaucracies prior to launching their products. In the end of their presentations, the two highly encouraged the technology producers to help the national aquaculture sector. “We can only rely on our people to build this nation. There is no way we can rely on other people because only we who are interested in improving our own people’s welfare,” Arief said, quoting B.J. Habibie, Indonesia’s third president.
Participants’ enthusiasm is visible through a lot of coming questions. Most of the questions coming from smallholder aquaculture farmers were about the most efficient way to reap good quality crops, while most questions asked by aquaculture technology business actors were the benefit of INDOGAP certification and how to build the best home devices for smallholder farmers. Speakers answered and explained each of their questions completely. After receiving the answers, many of the participants expressed their excitement to participate in using/producing aquaculture technologies. The excitement peaked during quiz time. Participants had to answer questions regarding topics that had been explained during discussion. The winner succeeded to answer eight out of ten tough questions, while the runner up, a high school student, answered seven out of ten questions. We can conclude that their visible interest with the topics and ideas of an efficient scheme for smallholder aquaculture farmers show that the launching of AgResults Indonesia Aquaculture Challenge is well received and awaited.
The launching ended with a brief explanation about the upcoming competition which is the next phase of AgResults Indonesia Aquaculture Challenge. The competition will be held for four years consecutively and will target aquaculture technology business actors. The committee encouraged the future participants to sell their product as many as possible to smallholder aquaculture farmers. The more participants sell their products, the more smallholder farmers are able to access aquaculture technology. Participants with the highest profit that surpass the determined threshold will be incentivized for each sold unit. Moreover, the core idea of this competition is inclusivity, hence this competition pays great attention to gender equality.