This time the census aims to provide data on agricultural structure down to the smallest administrative unit; benchmarks current agricultural statistics and prepares data for the advanced agriculture sample frame. The result is basic national agricultural data to complement data that can answer current strategic issues, the development of smallholders, small scale food producersaccording to FAO standards, and the availability of geospatial data other than tabular data.

ST2023 is expected to answer various strategic issues that are currently emerging, including urban farming or urban farming, the emergence of phenomenon millennial farmers, about agricultural modernization, and the issue of farmer welfare a>. It seems that the BPS has so far failed to record the trends of these new phenomena from various previous censuses, so the BPS hastened to collect the data to describe agriculture that has begun to progress, be modern and independent, which is marked by the presence of urban farming, millennial farmers. , and the use of modern agricultural machinery.

Read also: Agricultural Data and Poverty in Villages

However, is it really so? If we observe from the results of the previous census and from various surveys, it still shows that the direction and picture of Indonesian agriculture is still the same as before, both the farmers who are the actors, management, capital, and all the resource assets it owns. There have not been many significant changes compared to what agricultural officials have said and conveyed in various seminar forums and webinar so far.

To prove the difference between words and reality, the results of ST2023 will demonstrate the truth which will be published by the end of this year. However, it is believed that the expected results will not be far from the expected results of the strategic issues that the author will convey.

President Joko Widodo delivered a speech at the inauguration of the implementation of the Agricultural Census 2023 at the State Palace, Jakarta, on Monday (15/5/2023).
KOMPAS/CYPRIANUS ANTO SAPTOWALYONO

President Joko Widodo delivered a speech at the inauguration of the implementation of the Agricultural Census 2023 at the State Palace, Jakarta, on Monday (15/5/2023).

“Urban farming”

As an example of the issue regarding the rise of urban farming in the last five years and also triggered by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic which has been going on since 2020. The pandemic has caused people to work from home (work from home) or many workers affected by layoffs created new suitable and temporary jobs at home while waiting for the pandemic to subside.

People want to continue working from home by utilizing the small parcels of land they own. By farming to fill their leisure time at home due to social limitations, while meeting their own needs independently. Planting hydroponic vegetables and raising chickens and fish in a rural area has proven successful for the time being.

However, as time passed and the pandemic subsided, this urban farming model activity collapsed one by one. The “farmers” returned to normal life.

Its contribution to national production is relatively small so that it can be said that urban farming is only an alternative choice indicating that there are urban farmers.

A true urban farmer is a farmer who cultivates vegetables, fruit, and fish and poultry livestock which are relatively integrated and can thrive on narrow land in urban or suburban areas (urban and sub urban< /i>). Its contribution to national production is relatively small so that it can be said that urban farming is only an alternative choice, indicating that urban farmers are not significant at all compared to farmers in general, who live in rural areas. Perhaps the cultivation of urban farming is attractive to some of the younger generation to become urban farmers, but the number is still small compared to general farmers.

The government has provided numerous trainings to the younger generation to encourage them to become farmers. However, upon seeing the limited fields and land management, they tend to retreat. Alternatively, they opt to work on relatively small land areas by cultivating suitable commodities such as horticulture, hydroponics integrated with small livestock farming.

A row of hydroponic vegetables at Masjid Asy-Syifa RSCM, Jakarta, on Monday (30/1/2023). The management of Masjid Asy-Syifa utilized the vacant land on the mosque's rooftop to be used as a place for cultivating vegetables using the hydroponic system.
FAKHRI FADLURROHMAN

A row of hydroponic vegetables at Masjid Asy-Syifa RSCM, Jakarta, on Monday (30/1/2023). The management of Masjid Asy-Syifa utilized the vacant land on the mosque’s rooftop to be used as a place for cultivating vegetables using the hydroponic system.

Millennial farmer

The second issue that BPS wants to convey is millennial farmers. The author believes this issue to indicate the current generation of farmers. Today’s common farmers are the baby boomers who were born in 1946-1964 and the X generation who were born in 1965-1980. This generation of farmers is aging, almost 70 percent are over 50 years old and 80 percent have primary education, at least junior high school (Sakernas BPS, 2021).

With old age and low education and having an average land area of ​​under half a hectare, the picture of this farmer is that of a farmer who lacks innovation and is technology illiterate. Nothing more can be expected from these farmers to increase production and productivity. The transfer of generations of stagnant farmers and relatively more educated and technologically literate younger generations who are certainly prepared to replace them has not yet occurred.

Observing the resource assets that do not meet the economic scale, the millennial farmer candidates are unable to replace them. As a result, there is no generational turnover and agriculture continues to operate as usual, in a stagnant manner.

Also read: ”Food Estate” and Millennial Farmers

Based on Sakernas BPS 2021 data, there are 38.77 million Indonesian farmers. Of the total farmers, they are Generation X farmers at 38.02 percent, followed by baby boomers at 34.41 percent. Meanwhile, the millennial generation (born 1981-1996) only amounted to 21.93 percent, and the Z generation born in the 1997-2008 range was only 2.24 percent.

Ideally, to attract millennial farmers who are relatively highly educated, the government could prepare conditions for a generational shift with economically scaled land availability through a corporate approach. However, this has not been done by the government. Even when done, it is done half-heartedly and not sustainable.

Millennial farmers from West Java will participate in the inauguration at the Padjadjaran University campus in Bandung city on Tuesday (30/5/2023). For a year, they will develop their production and marketing skills. This program was initiated by the West Java provincial government since 2021.
KOMPAS/CORNELIUS HELMY HERLAMBANG

Millennial farmers from West Java will participate in the inauguration at the Padjadjaran University campus in Bandung city on Tuesday (30/5/2023). For a year, they will develop their production and marketing skills. This program was initiated by the West Java provincial government since 2021.

Agricultural modernization

In conditions of increasingly narrow land ownership due to the large number of conversions and land conversion, degradation, fragmentation, and inequality of land ownership will hamper agricultural modernization. Based on BPS data, for five years (2023-2018), for example, there has been a reduction in the standard area of ​​standard rice fields from 7.7 million hectares to only 7.1 million ha, which This means that there has been a shrinking of 648,800 hectares of land. This shows that every year there is an average of 130,000 hectares of paddy fields being converted into non-agricultural land for the construction of toll road infrastructure, airports, ports, industrial areas, offices, housing (real estate), shops, and other.

The Bogor Research and Development Center for Land Resources predicts that by 2045, Indonesia will only have 5.1 million hectares of rice field land. This condition is concerning, especially since the conversion of land use is accompanied by land degradation as a result of the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides for years, which lowers the physical fertility of the soil. According to the BBSDLP, 70 percent of the land is already sick due to the lack of organic elements, especially carbon, in the soil.

The Bogor Research and Development Center for Land Resources predicts that by 2045 Indonesia will only have 5.1 million hectares of paddy fields.

The desire for agricultural modernization is further worsened by the imbalance in land ownership. This imbalance, as reported by interCAFEipb, is quite high, reaching 0.68. This means that only 1 percent of the population owns assets and land. This will certainly hinder bottom-up agricultural modernization because farmers have no certainty about their land ownership.

Small farmer

From ST 2003 and ST 2013, smallholders in Indonesia fell from 14.25 million to 9.48 million or a decrease of 25.07 percent. It is interesting to observe the decline of 4.77 million smallholder households, which have a land area of ​​at most 0.50 hectares. Where are they? This large number turned out to be migrant circular. They lease or sell the scarce land to other land owners or investors, then they migrate to the city to become construction workers and fill other informal sectors.

Returning to the village after collecting enough money, and returning to the city to make a living again. This phenomenon is seen along the toll road entrances or other places where the concentration of circular migrant workers is. Rent a simple house with friends from the same village and take turns going home.

Also read: Getting Gurem

When they returned, their land had changed owners, namely urbanites or investors who increasingly dominate the land and inverted the positions. Now they work for and serve the new employers. Here, among other things, we see the difficulties of Bulog in buying farmers’ rice because the price is higher than the reference price set by the government. Landowners or new employers even have warehouses and rice milling facilities that compete with Bulog, which relies on its partners in the field.

The phenomenon of smallholder farmers whose numbers are decreasing will continue and will result from ST2023, which makes it clearer that agricultural modernization actually occurs from the outside, not from within the farmers themselves. Farmers who are currently still dominated by baby boomers and generation X farmers will disappear by themselves due to age and be replaced by other generations of farmers who are more educated, young, technologically literate, and see agriculture as something of a big business venture. .

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A new generation of farmers

The government sometimes “forgets” various strategic phenomena or issues. Relying too much on farmer groups. This approach is not wrong, but it ignores other developments that are actually advancing, namely the growth of business associations, business groups, trade and investment services that also need to be considered.

Organizations outside the farmer groups should be invited to talk together to solve problems. Looking for a joint solution that is a win win solution.

Also read: Incorrect Perspective in Youth Farming Solutions and Digital Technology

As a result, the results of ST2023 are predictable, namely the number of smallholders will decrease, the real contribution of urban farming has not been seen, modernization and transfer of generations of farmers are still stagnant, and the presence of millennial farmers has yet to show results because they have not been given access to land. . In addition, the big problems for Indonesian agriculture in the future are massive land conversion and conversion, land degradation/damage that requires organic matter, and land fragmentation. On top of that the settlement of high land ownership inequality so that ownership becomes unequal.

We are eagerly anticipating and anxiously waiting to record the aggregate production results, productivity, and population of agricultural and fisheries products at the end of the year. Agriculture is indeed a peculiar problem.

M Chairul Arifin, Retired Ministry of Agriculture, Alumni Unair

M Chairul Arifin
DOK. PRIBADI

M Chairul Arifin

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