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Facing Climate Change: Challenges and Opportunities for Indonesian Farmers

Climate Movement,Knowledge Hub

Introduction

Climate change has become a global threat that cannot be ignored, especially for the agricultural sector in Indonesia. Agriculture is the backbone of Indonesia’s economy, contributing significantly to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and providing employment for millions. However, this sector is under serious threat from climate change, which has led to altered rainfall patterns, increased temperatures, and a higher frequency of natural disasters.

One crucial factor affecting the resilience of the agricultural sector to these changes is the age structure and educational levels of farmers. In this context, the age structure and educational levels of farmers play a key role in determining their readiness to cope with the impacts of climate change. This article will explore the challenges and opportunities faced by Indonesian farmers, along with steps that can be taken to enhance their resilience to climate change in relation to existing age structure and educational levels.

Age Structure of Farmers: Adaptation Challenges

According to data from the 2018 Agricultural Census (SUTAS) released by the Central Statistics Agency (BPS), the age distribution of farmers in Indonesia is as follows:

  • Age 55 and above: Approximately 51%
  • Ages 45-54: Approximately 24%
  • Ages 35-44: Approximately 15%
  • Ages 25-34: Approximately 8%
  • Under 25 years old: Approximately 2%

 

Based on the above data, the majority of farmers in Indonesia are older individuals. More than half of the farmers are over 55 years old, while only a small percentage are under 25 years old. This indicates that most farmers belong to a generation with extensive experience in traditional agriculture. However, this predominantly older age structure presents challenges in terms of adapting to climate change. Older farmers may struggle with adopting new technologies and sustainable farming strategies.

Educational Levels of Farmers: Innovation Opportunities

Meanwhile, the educational levels of farmers also play a crucial role in their readiness to face climate change. Data from the National Socio-Economic Survey (Susenas) shows that the majority of farmers have only completed primary or lower secondary education. Only about 5% of farmers have higher education. Here is the breakdown of educational levels among farmers:

  • No schooling / did not finish primary school: Approximately 25%
  • Completed primary school: Approximately 35%
  • Completed junior high school: Approximately 20%
  • Completed senior high school: Approximately 15%
  • Higher education (Diploma / Bachelor’s degree): Approximately 5%

 

Nevertheless, low educational attainment does not always pose a barrier. Farmers with lower educational levels often possess extensive local knowledge of the environment and traditional farming practices, which can be valuable assets in facing climate change.

Strategies to Enhance Farmer Preparedness

To enhance the preparedness of Indonesian farmers to face climate change, the following strategies can be considered:

  1. Institutional Innovation in Farming Enterprises: The majority of Indonesian farmers are small-scale household farmers managing small plots of land where the management is done by family labor. This situation complicates commodity management and diminishes the efficiency of farming efforts. Encouraging farmer collectivization is limited to the context of government assistance, where the institutional structure of paddy farmers is adopted as a single model of collective institutions that are adopted in all conditions. The development of collective institutions covering aspects of management, cultural practice, and marketing can be promising platforms where support from the government and other parties can be more targeted and measurable through market mechanisms, where production cooperatives may be the right choice for competitiveness in the commodity market.
  2. Training and Education: Training programs should be tailored to the needs and capabilities of farmers based on their age and educational level. This may include training in the use of modern agricultural technology, natural resource management, and sustainable farming practices.
  3. Adaptation Technology Development: Governments and related institutions should invest in climate-friendly agricultural technology development that is accessible to all layers of farmers. This may include water-saving irrigation technology, weather-resistant crop varieties, and advanced weather monitoring systems.
  4. Strengthening Networks and Partnerships: Encouraging collaboration among farmers, government, academia, and the private sector can enhance the exchange of knowledge and experiences, as well as facilitate access to necessary resources and information.

Conclusion

Climate change poses a complex challenge to Indonesia’s agricultural sector. The age structure and educational levels of farmers play a key role in determining their readiness to face this challenge. With the right strategies, Indonesian farmers can turn the challenges of climate change into opportunities to enhance food security and create more sustainable agriculture.

Contributor:

Meiardhy Mujianto

“Climate change is not just a weather issue but also about the welfare of farmers who depend on their land.”

-Unknown

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Climate Movement,Knowledge Hub
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