PanenID: Enabling fair pricing for smallholders farmer in Bali
A young woman walked down a vegetable patch in Sanur, Bali, drenched in sweat under the harsh sun. She found luck in the small vegetable garden, just what’s left in Sanur.
Her name is Astrid Juanita Stephanie. When she turned 25, she entered the world of farming. She’s inspired to initiate change that farming products will not be underpriced when the selling price is high, something that has left farmers and their family suffers under the long distribution chain of the market.
Astrid wants the farmers and their family to be free of the vicious cycle that trapped them into poverty amidst the abundance of harvest which has taken a toll on their children’s lives. Far from being proud of their parents, the children refuse to follow their parents’ footsteps to become farmers. Some of them feel that farmers never get fairly compensated for their hard work. This has led many children of farmers to move to the cities in search of jobs, to escape a life of poverty.
In 2016, Astrid started to put her ideas to work with the help of a friend, Johannes Kristanto (26), finding solutions to advance agriculture and bring improvement to the lives of the farmers. The started a company, PT Panen Indonesia Sejahtera with the simple mission of connecting farmers directly to the consumers, simplifying the long distribution chain.
She also connects the stakeholders within the agriculture circle, from the agriculture government officials and the villagers including farmers to know more about the ecosystem and farming business.
She learned from government agency for tourism to know the demand for agriculture products, gathering data around how the farmers sell their products, the population of the hotels, how they place orders on the farming products, and the hotel ecosystem.
“That’s how I started building a business that connects hotels and farmers,” Astrid said.
Many hotels in Bali need quality farm products and are willing to pay a premium for them. She saw this as a big opportunity that she can tap into. She approached hotels in Bali and found farmers to partner with. It doesn’t matter that the farmers only own a small patch of land as long as they use modern farming techniques with high yields.
Astrid took training courses as she expanded her business. One of the courses is Impact Acceleration Program (IAP) run by Kinara Indonesia. The class materials have helped her run her business.
“IAP made a difference,” said Astrid.
She used to limit herself, not adding personnel to the team or entertain any thoughts of expanding beyond Bali.
“I used to avoid having to leave Bali. I want to focus on Bali only,” she reminisces.
After the IAP courses, her business grows exponentially.
IAP also connected her with the investors. Not just any investors but strategic investors! She saw this as the biggest value of IAP.
“Without IAP, my team will still consist of two members because I didn’t want to add to it. Now I have 10 in my team,” she said.
“Strategic investors help us in many ways. They support our finances. Secondly, they help us with legal matters. They also helped us build our website. They helped us with land problems. They found experts to help us. And they also helped us with the problem of finding office space. So they are truly strategic investors,” she explained.
Astrid never imagined that her business will grow into the size it is today. Before, she felt that she can live with the gain and the amount of money she had. But after she joined IAP, she felt ready to answer the challenge of growing her business.
“Afer IAP, our gain increased 20 times!”
Now the small team with Johannes grew into the 10 members with five patches of farming land spread around Bali to cater to the needs of 70 hotels!
Today, she started thinking about expanding to Yogyakarta and Jakarta, where there are hotels with the demand for quality farm products.
After 2 years, she saw a direct change in her business. It made her happy because it was aligned with her vision when she started the business: to help farmers and improve their lives.
“Our farmers now owned cars to deliver their products to the city,” she proudly stated.
The farmers’ income grew, while the hotels felt the benefit of improved pricing with shorter distribution chain. Agriculture product supply remains stable and sustainable, supported by the mutually-beneficial scheme.
Astrid envisions the day when the farmers’ children can proudly tells their friend that their harvest ended up in five-star hotels like Padma, Ayana, Le Meridien, Four Seasons, and Harris Group.
“This is what makes the farmers who work with us proud with their job,” Astrid said. “They improve their social standing!”
“This kind of mindset is what we aim for the regeneration of the farming families,” she said. “How to keep young people from thinking of going to the city!”
By: Feri Latief