Empowering Farmers and Enhancing Sustainability: PasarMIKRO's Field Trip to Lampung, Sumatra
In a bid to foster a deeper understanding of the challenges and triumphs in the cocoa and coffee-producing regions of Lampung, Sumatra, PasarMIKRO embarked on a transformative field trip. This journey was not just a visit; it was an immersive experience that
Engaging with Local Communities:
The journey began with a warm welcome from Ganus, where a team of experts had meticulously organised an educational field trip and farmers gathering. With over 50 farmers and their community leaders in attendance, PasarMIKRO’s CEO, Dien Wong, shared invaluable insights on the benefits of digitalisation. The spotlight was on PasarMIKRO’s role in facilitating faster payments and secure transactions through its user-friendly application. brought together farmers, community leaders, and sourcing and sustainability representatives from the cocoa industry, PasarMIKRO and Ganus, one of PasarMIKRO’s valued cocoa customers. The objective was clear—to explore the agricultural landscape, engage with local communities, and share insights on digitalization for a more sustainable future.
Insights from Farmers: During interactive sessions led by farmer group leaders Pak Mustofa and Pak Rudi, key insights into the farmers’ lives and practices emerged:
Collaborative Farming: Although farmers own individual plots of 1-2 hectares, they often collaborate on harvesting crops, fostering a sense of community and shared success.
Diverse Crop Portfolio: Farmers cultivate heritage crops like coffee and pepper alongside cocoa. The yield averages 1-2 tonnes per hectare, with two cocoa harvest seasons from February to April and August to October.
Income Diversity: While 50% of their income comes from cocoa, farmers also generate revenue from secondary crops like coffee, bananas, papayas, and corn. Many also rear goats.
Climate Challenges: Drought poses a significant challenge, affecting water availability and reducing crop yields. The absence of irrigation systems leaves farmers reliant on unpredictable rainfall.
Intercropping Strategies: Farmers use bananas and avocados for intercropping, providing shade and additional income once matured. PasarMIKRO can play an important role here as it brings parties from the different commodities together and de-risks the vulnerable part of the supply chain.
Financial Practices: Despite having Android smartphones and familiarity with apps like Shopee, Facebook, and Whatsapp, the majority prefer receiving payments in cash due to impatience with bank transaction timelines and perceived uncertainty when money comes. Limited access to ATMs and associated costs also contribute to this preference.
Education and Healthcare: For the community, access to education includes nearby primary schools as well as basic healthcare services. More advanced healthcare services and secondary schools are available within a 6km radius in the district area.
Innovations in Agriculture: The field trip showcased firsthand the new pruning and grafting techniques employed by farmers to enhance the resilience of their cocoa trees and improve overall production. Despite Indonesia’s declining cocoa production, these farmers are turning the tide through smart agricultural practices.
Challenges in Record-Keeping and Payments: Visits to buying stations highlighted the manual record-keeping methods still prevalent in the industry. The lack of a streamlined system makes it challenging to identify high-quality producers and hinders progress towards sustainable practices.
Towards a Sustainable Future: The final leg of the trip took the team to Ganus’s warehouse, drying, and processing facility, where cocoa beans are prepared for delivery to international and local processors. One of the cocoa processing representatives emphasised the crucial role of good quality beans and reliable sourcing for the production of the chocolate we all enjoy so much. This is not a given, access to finance, market and education needs to be further improved.
Conclusion: PasarMIKRO’s field trip to Lampung, Sumatra, not only unveiled the challenges faced by local farmers but also highlighted their resilience and determination to overcome these obstacles. By sharing insights, fostering collaboration, and advocating for digitization, PasarMIKRO is playing a pivotal role in empowering farmers with its easy trade and trade finance solutions as well as leveraging the transactional data flow to support the smallholder ecosystem enhancing sustainability in the cocoa and coffee-producing regions of Indonesia. Through these efforts, a brighter and more sustainable future for these communities and the chocolate industry as a whole is on the horizon.