Agriterra currently has two interns place in Indonesia. One of them is Roel van Asseldonk, student of HAS University of applied sciences, in his third year of the education "Business administration & Agribusiness". Agriterra business advisors Richard van der Maden and Agnes Janszen offered him an internship at farmers' organisation SPPQT in Salatiga, Central Java. Below his experiences and adventures until now.
Meanwhile, I’m almost two months in Indonesia now. Looking back on these two months, I’ve gained a lot of new great experiences. Life in Indonesia is really fine and these two months have gone faster than I had in mind. I must say, after my arrival here in Salatiga, I didn’t think it would be this way. The things that were normal for me in the Netherlands, like a shower, toilet and refrigerator, I don’t have here. In the beginning I had to get used to it, but this happened very quick and now it is all quite normal for me. So, I can say I’m really enjoying the life here.
The first week, I met the biggest part of the staff and other people that are involved at SPPQT. What I directly noticed, was the friendliness and helpfulness of the Indonesia people. The people here are all really friendly and they help me with everything I ask them to help me with. I think that’s very good and in that area, Dutch people can take an example here.
SPPQT was founded in 1999. SPPQT’s mission is to strengthen the economic position of its members through advisory service through a groups approach. In total, the organization has 18.000 members. At association level, different types of cooperatives have been built, such as credit cooperatives and multi-business cooperatives. One of the multi-business cooperatives is KSU Agro Utama Qaryah Thayyibah (KSU QT). Other multi-business cooperatives are called GTP’s. My assignment is focusing on improving the marketing at those GTP’s and KSU QT.
Some of the activities I have done here and still doing, are finding new markets and writing a marketing plan for, and together, with KSU QT. One possible new market for vegetables (bumbu’s) and coffee is Fairtrade. It is really interesting to find out the possibilities for this and support the cooperative in a possible co-operation with Fairtrade. Besides that, I visit a lot of different farmer groups and individual farmers.
For me, it is really great to speak with these farmers and to see how they live. Those experiences are great. As regarding the marketing plan, we just started with that. Some problems that immediately come forward are keeping databases and recordkeeping for example.
As I said before, the life here is great. From now, I will only stay one month here in Indonesia (till 28 May) and I think it will get hard to say goodbye to this beautiful country!