YOGYAKARTA – Centre for Economic Studies (Pustek) Universitas Gadjah Mada in cooperation with Jenderal Sudirman Center have initiated the establishment of Farmer School. The school is expected to become an alternative model of farmer empowerment in Indonesia. The materials of the program are on knowledge aspect of wider agricultural economic politics. “We try to improve the lives of farmers through the Farmer School by making them smarter and more organised,” said Head of the Centre, Dr. Revrisond Baswir, in his office in Bulaksumur, Tuesday (2/5).
Sony, his nickname, said the first target were 25-30 persons per batch. They are young farmers in Yogyakarta and Central Java provinces. The curriculum includes insight on agricultural development, poverty, policy history, farmer mobility, problems in policy and trade, strategy in institutional strengthening and networking. “We hope that after graduation, farmers will be able to regulate trade while no longer be ruled by middlemen and moneylenders,” he said. He added that the school is synergised with the student community service programme (KKN) in order that it can be applied elsewhere in Indonesia.
Chairman of Jenderal Sudirman Center, Bugiakso, said the school was established due to the decreasing farmer’s prosperity in the past decade. Agricultural products also decreased in contrast to the more open imported products. “Something went wrong in the agricultural policy for food resilience,” he said.
Deputy Chairman of LPPM UGM, Ir. Irfan Dwidya Prijambada, M.Eng., Ph.D., said the school is expected to empower farmers who are now more dependent on the varied imported products. “Farmers need comprehensive education to be able to take critical stance on structural policy,” he concluded.