0,15 ha in Central Java: "Some decisions are hard"

02-02-2015 Nanik Lestari is 29 years old, married and with one son who is 8 years old. Together with her husband she owns 0,15 ha of land. Every year they rent some more land so that they can increase production. The profit they make on the rented land they have to share with the owner. Her story:

"We grow chillies, cassava, baby beans. The beans are ok. We get a good price as we deliver to the coop. That helps me a lot as I do not have to worry about selling the beans. A big company buys the beans from our coop. We also get the seeds from the company. But last year the seeds were bad and our harvest was poor. We complained and received new seeds. But no compensation.

The chillies are more difficult. Last year the prices were very low. There are so many farmers growing chillies. I have tried to find ways to come to market with my chillies before other farmers do, but is it difficult to do as it does not fit with my rotation.

We would like to have more land but it is too expensive to buy. Even it was available the owners would not sell it.

I am happy to be part of a small cooperative Makes my life easier and I am no longer confused about where to sell our produce. But my role in the cooperative is limited. If we are in the field working we talk to each other. And then other members listen to me. But if we are in a formal setting I find it difficult to speak up. If older people are present, younger people should not have an opinion. That is the way it is.

We as younger people try to share our problems in the GTP but older board members do not listen to our solutions. It helps if the young people receive training. Then we have knowledge and people listen to us more. It would make us feel better in the group. I also would like much more training. Especially about post-production matters as how to sell, where to sell, how to set price, etc.

Our land is hardly enough to make a living. When prices are good I am happy to be a farmer but when they are bad, I wish I had another job. We have some goat as well. And if prices are bad we have to decide to sell one of our goats of use our savings. These decisions are hard. I wish we could have a bit of a higher price so we could increase our savings and have more capital for difficult times."

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