Mutiara Dinanti Siregar - Indonesia
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, I am Mutiara and I would like to present my solution, a comprehensive agriculture training program for South East Asian countries, while harmonizing the bilateral relationships, which addresses SDG 8.3 – Promoting development-oriented policies; SDG 2 – achieving food security and promoting sustainable agriculture; SDG 8.6 – reducing the proportion of youth not in employment or training, and lastly SDG 17.7 – Promoting the development to developing countries.
South East Asian Countries are major contributors of the agriculture sector, as they account for 25.2% share of agricultural commodities globally. Agriculture sector plays a very important role as it accounts for 25% of countries’ GDP on average and agricultural land covers 116 million hectares in South East Asia.
Ironically, ASEAN or the Association of South East Asian Nations countries still import 74.8% of their food crops from non-ASEAN countries.
Further researches reveal that this is actually caused by a root problem, the low education and training system in SEA. SEA has huge potential in agriculture sector, however its productivity is not yet optimized. Currently, most farmers do not consider farming as a business that needs specific training. Moreover, most of them did not have the chance to enroll in a formal education beforehand. Hence, not only agricultural skills, but they are also lacking in business and managerial skills.
Taking Indonesia as an example, 38 million people or 15% of total population works on this sector. However, most of them are still considered as smallholder farmers, who mostly use rudimentary technologies which inevitably lead to low yields.
So my solution to tackle this problem is a comprehensive agriculture training program. This program is targeted for the smallholder farmers in developing countries as well as the unemployed people. We would train them with both newly developed agricultural techniques, such as organic farming as well business and entrepreneurial skills, hoping to be able to change their mindset from farming as a daily activity to fulfill their daily needs, to farming as a business that can be grown.
This training program can be implemented in any agricultural country as it can be easily reproduced in any countries, as we will recruit local agriculture graduates to be their trainees. This way, training will be specifically catered to their location and culture.
Not only empowering them educationally, but our training program will also collaborate with the local banks, so that they will be more trusted therefore loan and grants application will be simplified as they have been trained and can manage their financials better, avoiding debt problems with the banks.
So probably the question we all have in mind now is, how would a country with no or few agriculture land can take part or benefit from this training? Countries like Singapore, with very small land area do not have the land resources for this training. But what Singapore and other countries with similar condition can do is, to support the developing countries in terms of Research and Development on agricultural techniques as well as manpower to train the trainers, hence we can have a standardized training curriculum. This way, both countries can establish a good relationship and create a greater impact, beyond only one country, but one region. Or even larger, to the whole world.
As a realistic solution, this training program has several barriers and hurdles. Some of our barriers include infrastructure constraints. This is because time and resources are spent on building infrastructure such as irrigation and roads before we can implement this program. To overcome this barrier, we will focus on areas with existing infrastructure first.
Another barrier that we may face is resource constraint. Resource constraint includes difficulty in sourcing for funds and lack of credible human resources. Currently, we are very dependent on the NGOs and government for our revenue. Therefore, we will diversify our revenue streams to other possible sources. Also, without credible human resource, our training program will lose its reputation. Thus, we will hold a very tight selection process and contract while also taking into consideration their teaching or training experience.
To measure the solution, our Key Performance Indicators are:
· Increase in quantity and quality of crops produced
· Increase in farmer’s profit
· Decrease in number of debt problems
· Increase in land productivity
· And last but not the least, Decrease in unemployment rate
So that’s all from me. Thank you very much for your attention.