Transforming Productivist Economies: Inter- and Transdisciplinary Perspectives on Organic Farming in Southeast Asia
Time & LocationSession 4
Wed 15:30–17:00 Room 1.406
- Martina Padmanabhan University of Passau
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- A Mixed Bag: Ideologies and Practices Around Seeds in Organic Farming in Yogyakarta Martina Padmanabhan University of Passau
Seeds are identified as central in organic farming. Depending on the framing, they appear as material input for the farmer, as biological potentials to grow food, as part and parcel of intricate planting cycles or cultural and culinary heritage. The contested perspectives on seeds and their subsequent handling, treatment, importance or denial, serves as an entry point to observe and discuss the rather unclear and diffuse situation of agricultural biodiversity in Indonesia. On the one hand, organic seeds are requested by the offical National Indonesian Standard to disinguish itself from conventional procuction, but rather seldom acctually avaliable. On the other hand a growing debate within the organic movement underlines seed quality and autonomy as a prerequiste for adhering to the ecological and social goals of alternative food systems. Based on qualitative fieldwork around Yogyakarta on Java in 2017/18, I want to unpack the different dimensions of seed management to show the contradictory, yet flexible and nature of agroecological practices embedded in a highly institutionalised conventional setting. Along with accummulated expertise, we observe a deskilling regarding seed treatment, ecological properties of cultivars competing with economic considerations and the social network of gendered actors as decisive for the avaliablity of seeds. The question of the organic quality of seeds surprisingly is often not the first priority and explains the low institutionalisation of an organic seed market.
- Does Information Increase the Willingness-To-Pay for Organic Food? Experimental Evidence from Indonesia Nathalie Luck University of Passau
The intensive use of chemical inputs has led to a growing concern about the health and environmental implications of conventional farming. Similar to many high income countries, there is a growing organic movement in many low and middle income countries such as Indonesia where various stakeholders, activists and policy makers promote organic farming. Yet, we know little about consumers’ willingness to pay for organic food in these countries, an essential requirement for further adoption of organic farming by smallholders who typically have little access to export markets. This paper assesses consumers’ willingness to pay (WTP) for organic rice in urban and suburban Indonesia. We use an incentive-compatible auction-like mechanism based on the Becker-DeGroot-Marschak (BDM) approach to elicit consumers WTP for organic rice. We find that respondents are willing to pay an average price premium of 20.1% compared to what they paid during their last rice purchase outside of our experiment. We further study the role of income and the exposure to a randomized information treatment on respondents’ WTP. Results show that higher income is correlated with higher WTP, but that the random exposure to a video-information treatment about the health or, alternatively, environmental benefits of organic consumption was not effective to further raise WTP. The study concludes that there are opportunities to promote organic rice among urban and suburban Indonesian consumers and that income constraints appear to be more important than information constraints for consumers’ willingness to pay a price premium for organic rice. Although the video treatment could not significantly increase demand, the data shows that consumers who do associate organic rice with better health have a higher WTP even holding constant income and education. Hence, the results can be used as a basis to design alternative awareness measures to increase knowledge, interest and demand for organic food.
- Framing the Sustainability of Organic Farming: The Case in Yogyakarta Nurcahyaningtyas Subandi Universitas Atma Jaya, Yogyakarta
Organic farming continues to develop in Indonesia and currently has become an agriculture method that is supported by the government. The sustainability of organic agriculture is related to the various motives that influence the decision of farmers to switch from conventional agriculture to organic farming and the decision of consumers to consume organic food products. The objective of this paper is to propose the framework conditions that support organic conversion and the establishment of producer-consumer relations in Yogyakarta. Because different actors of organic agriculture have different approaches to their decision-making process, it is essential to describe these differences to identify the obstacles, challenges and strategies of organic farming.
Based on the discussions in the 1st IndORGANIC Woskhop in December 2018 and a series of in-depth interviews involving stakeholders and different actors of organic agriculture in Yogyakarta, it can be summarized that there are 5 conditions that must be met for organic farming to be economically profitable and sustainable. These conditions are: 1) building awareness of the importance of organic agriculture, 2) the existence of a growing market, 3) the formation of organic agriculture communication forums, 4) government support, and 5) natural resources and biodiversity.
Constructing the elements and sub-elements of decision making by farmers and consumers, and the dependencies and feedback between the decision-making elements, is essential to understand the priorities and strategy necessary to promote organic farming. The Analytical Network Process (ANP) under the BOCR (Benefits, Opportunities, Costs, Risks) model offers a method to frame the different perspectives of a diverse group of people in choosing the best of a discrete set of alternatives based on the merit of benefits (B), opportunities (O), costs (C) and risks (R). Unlike the usual methods of optimization that assume the availability of measurements, the measurements in ANP-BOCR model (and other Multi Criterion Decision Making models) are derived or intepreted subjectively as indicators of preference and of the strength of preference.
This study proposes the first step of applying the ANP-BOCR model, which is framing the decision making problem of farmers and consumers. The objective or goal of this model is to address the question: “What agriculture product and associated cultivation method should the farmer use?” (supply side) and “What agriculture product would consumers choose?” (demand side) in the Yogyakarta region. Both the farmers and consumers choose among the 3 alternatives: 1) conventional agriculture products (no organic conversion), 2) healthy food (uncertified or semi-organic), or 3) organic certified products, based on the merit of benefits, opportunities, costs and risks. In making their decision (choice) the farmers and consumers consider a set of control criteria: 1) economic, 2) social, 3) environmental, and 4) institutional. Each control criteria is then defined by clusters and elements in each clusters according to the supply and demand side perspectives. The dependencies and feedback mechanisms between the decision-making elements will be explored based on information gathered from the 1st IndORGANIC Woskhop in December 2018 and a series of in-depth interviews involving stakeholders and different actors of organic agriculture in Yogyakarta.
- Institutional Analysis and Development Framework: Analysis on Organic Farming Institution in Indonesia Dimas Dwi Laksmana University of Passau
The aim of this paper is to investigate the institution of organic farming in Indonesia by adopting Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) framework at the operational tier. This implies policy analysis which is grounded on the everyday experiences of organic farmers. Institution in this context is understood as rules, whether formal or informal and written or unwritten, that regulate structured and repeated human interactions. This definition suggests the importance of rules as linkages between actors and as components that influence the structure of decision making. Therefore, my first research objective is to systematically analyse action situation which is defined as a social situation where participants interact and make decisions (patterns of interactions) that affect their life conditions and immediate biophysical world (outcomes). The action situation that is critically analysed is the regular farmer group meetings when decisions regarding farming practices, conflict resolutions, information disseminations, etc., occur. Particular attention is given to the characteristics of Javanese farmers and their biophysical world to exemplify the interconnectivity between institution and social-ecological system. Secondly, I attempt to analyse working rules which can be understood as sets of rules that people make reference to in explaining and justifying their decisions. By using the grammar of rules I can systematically analyse the structures and effects of these working rules on farmers decision making regarding organic farming practices. Following this approach I specifically focus on the roles of existing written rules, such as legislations and regulations, and unwritten rules, such as norms which are embodied in the everyday life of organic farmers. Based on a nine-month ethnographic fieldwork with organic farmers in Yogyakarta, Central Java, institutional analysis allows me to explore and discover the various modes of interactions between farmers and other influential stakeholders in organic farming which are embedded within the larger discourse of agricultural development of the country.
- Institutions of Rice Seed Varieties Management in Tasikmalaya, Indonesia: The Impact of Different Seed Systems on Agrobiodiversity Ronja Haupt University of Passau
Seed management is a crucial aspect for maintaining farmer’s agrobiodiversity, securing farmer’s productivity, and creating social and cultural spheres. This paper presents the socio-cultural organization of wet rice seed management and seed exchange and focuses on the relevant factors regarding the conservation of agrobiodiversity. After the Green Revolution, Indonesia’s rice seed exchange system was mainly influenced by the availability of modern seeds, distributed via the formal setting instead of the so far prevalent informal seed exchange. The present study detects the related characteristics of the seed flow, interlinkages between both seed systems, and factors influencing the seed selection. The study was embedded within the larger IndORGANIC project and semi-structured interviews combined with the Net-Map method were conducted between February and May 2019 in Tasikmalaya, Indonesia. Using the Net-Map method allows to reveal the structures behind the formal and informal seed management system and its related actors and institutions. Findings show that although many seeds are distributed through government agencies, an even higher amount of seed and knowledge exchange still preferably takes place in an informal sector with neighbors. Farmer groups are the main actors, connecting both the formal and informal seed sector. Whereas traditional seed varieties are only found in the informal seed sector, modern varieties occur in both systems. Traditional, local seeds only exist in small diversity and quantity. Higher yields, shorter growth-period and cheaper prices are the main criteria for farmer’s preferences towards modern seed varieties. However, seeds being distributed via the formal sector are not permanently accessible or available and its quality is often seen as problematic. To understand local seed markets is the key for improving farmer’s rice cultivation and enhancing new farming practices such as organic farming. The establishment of a local seed bank, female farmer groups, and discussion forums will be crucial for enhancing biodiversity.
- Styles of Organic Agriculture Intellectuals in Yogyakarta, Indonesia Kristian Tamtomo Universitas Atma Jaya, Yogyakarta
Organic agriculture originally emerged as a social movement reacting to the ecological costs of conventional agriculture and the perceived socio-political inequities of the global agri-food economic system. However, the growth of organic agriculture and market at the turn of the 21st century meant that it has itself become a global agro-industry. Participants in organic agriculture can vary in their styles, practices and motivations, ranging from those treating it as a social movement to those that treat it as a business and economic endeavor (Vos 2000, Guthman 2004, Alroe and Noe 2008, Reed 2010). Organic agriculture in Indonesia has also followed a similar trajectory, with a contemporary trend towards industrial scale production and trade facilitated by state-backed organic regulations and standards (David and Ardiansyah 2016), leading to similar multiplicity in meanings and motivations around organic agriculture for practitioners (Schreer, forthcoming).
In his study of organic rice farming in Bali, McRae (2011) points out that the personal qualities of certain individuals are often the key driver of organic agricultural endeavors. Adopting Gramsci’s notion of ‘organic intellectuals’, who are intellectuals that emerge and are connected to a specific social class or group (Forgacs (ed.) 2000, Kurzman and Owen 2002), this paper seeks to describe case examples of different styles of individuals who act as organizers of organic agriculture activities in Yogyakarta. Data on these individuals were obtained through observation, interviews, and participation in events on organic agriculture in Yogyakarta. The data collection is also a collaborative part of the on-going IndORGANIC research project with the University of Passau. The study aims not only to illustrate the social role these individuals play in organizing organic agriculture endeavors but also to describe their different perspectives on organic agriculture and the strategies (both practical and discursive) that they employ to enact their perspectives.
The preliminary findings describe three different styles of organic agriculture intellectuals in Yogyakarta, (1) the activist, (2) the cultural entrepreneur, (3) the organic business entrepreneur. Each style is similar to the three perspectives on organic agriculture ?protest, logo-poietic, and market? outlined by Alroe and Noe (2008). The protest perspective emphasizes organic agriculture as a counter and alternative to conventional agriculture, the logo-poietic perspective focuses on developing a unique meaning of organic agriculture for practitioners, while the market perspectives views organic agriculture as a potential and sustainable niche in the agri-food market.
Each style of organic agriculture intellectual in Yogyakarta uses their own respective discursive symbols and organizational methods, ones which are socio-culturally significant to their perspective. The activists reference terms and figures from the activist discourse of the global organic agriculture social movement, the cultural entrepreneurs make use of traditional Javanese philosophy, symbols and agricultural rituals, while the organic business entrepreneurs emphasize increased farmer welfare as well as developing marketing network and techniques.
- Value Models and Value Communicators in the Indonesian Organic Movement: Alternative Takes on the Bio-Economy Between Market Orientation, Religion, Culture and Tradition Patrick Keilbart University of Passau
Similar to other Southeast Asian countries, organic farming in Indonesia has developed from a form of resistance towards conventional farming to a government strategy for food sovereignty. By linking food security to national security, the Indonesian government legitimizes its own role in determining the country’s food policies, advancing national standardization and market development. Contrarily, the understandings, motivations and aims of non-state actors in the Indonesian ‘Organic Movement’ are mainly guided by post-materialist ideas; they embed organic agriculture into an anti-neoliberal discourse of food sovereignty. Non-state actors and stakeholders in organic farming comply with the government’s regulations and cooperate with the respective institutions to varying degrees, promoting their visions of the Indonesian bio-economy.
A critical approach on the theorization of the bio-economy (as a form of capitalism) sets the focus on national and local economies being built around bio(techno)logical materials, products, and processes, and the generation and appropriation of value. This implies the recognition of different potential sources of value, and an understanding of value in various different ways, including economic and non-economic aspects. Beyond profit or shareholder value, and conventional ideas of the value chain, the interplay between producers and consumers, regulations and institutions is determined by dynamic, evolving value constellations. These value constellations and value models emerge through the interactive creation and (re-)invention of value by producers and consumers, and by influential individuals within the Organic Movement.
Based on the premise that the production and appropriation of value takes place in relation to the emergence of new subjectivities, this paper identifies major value communicators within the Indonesian Organic Movement, and the value models they aim to implement. Those models to varying degrees combine market orientation, issues of food safety and healthy nutrition, and concerns for the environment with religious, cultural and traditional values. On this basis, different alternative takes on the Indonesian bio-economy are presented, which constitute the framework and future prospects for the organic movement in Indonesia.
The last decades have witnessed an emerge of alternative agriculture against the background of an all-encompassing green revolution in Southeast Asia. Under the names of “Organic”, “Healthy” or “Natural food” different concepts, practices and strategies present themselves as better ways to produce food in an environmental friendly way, consider social as well as economic needs of farm-households and express other notions of human-nature relationships. The framing of organic farming as lifestyle, health concern, social or environmental movement furthermore shapes assessment of local and state policies on the new institutions. In this panel we invite disciplinary, inter- and transdisciplinary contributions to spell out organic farming and investigate the current trends of alternative agriculture in Asia. While we are interested in research on the philosophies and worldviews of organic pioneers, we likewise aim to understand farmers’ and consumers’ decision making patterns.
We invite contribution from a wide range of disciplines from anthropology to economics, from ethics to sociology to question the societal transformation towards alternative farming:
- What potential does organic agriculture hold as an alternative model in Southeast Asia?
- What are the underlying belief systems, economic situations and institutional structures
of alternative farming in Southeast Asia?
- What promising types and technologies of organic farming are adapted to the context at hand?
- What framework conditions support the organic movement and the establishment of producer-consumer relations?
- What are the broader environmental and socio-economic impacts of organic farming?