Farmers should look for homegrown solutions for problems: Expert

Prime News, State (Bengaluru), May 24:- Farmers should increasingly become entrepreneurs to find homegrown solutions to their problems rather than relying on the government, Helianti Hilman, a progressive natural farming expert from Indonesia, has urged.  “When you are an entrepreneur, you think of innovations. An entrepreneurial mindset is very important for farmers because most of the time they keep complaining that they are small farmers and do not have access to finance or markets.

“But if you introduce the concept of entrepreneurship among them, the more you have problems, the more excited and challenged you are to find solutions,” Hilman said on the sidelines of a natural farming summit organised by the Sri Sri Institute of Agricultural Sciences & Technology Trust (SSIAST) here.

Being an entrepreneur “you always think of solving problems. That is what entrepreneurs do. It is interesting to push yourself to solve problems and find solutions”, Hilman said.

Hilman is Chief Executive Officer of Javara Indigenous, a social entreprise that works with over 52,000 small-scale farmers to preserve and promote Indonesia’s food biodiversity, traditional techniques and indigenous wisdom and help farmers to get market opportunities at local and global levels.

Hilman spoke about how brainstorming over the immediate use of vegetables that may otherwise rot led to the creation of 14 types of vegetable noodles that became a huge success in Indonesia. Javara Indigenous produces about 747 different organic products, about 80 per cent of which is exported.

According to Hilman, Indonesia has reduced to just 1,100 its rice varieties due to chemical fertilisers compared to 7,000 that existed before the Green Revolution in the 1950s.

She said there was need to influence and educate government as most of the time it is found “not to be helping farmers” but rather “bothering them”. “Government does not think like an entrepreneur. Their mindset is that they have a budget to spend.”

Hilman said it was more difficult to get permission to sell organic products in her own country than in other countries due to stringent regulations, which other countries have done away with. (MR, Inputs: Agencies).


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