Agriculture, as a vital sector of the Indonesian economy, provides income for the majority of Indonesian households today. This sector is sustained by agricultural commodities such as rice, corn and soybeans; strategic plantation commodities such as oil palm, rubber and cocoa; and livestock commodities such as cattle, goats and poultry. The agricultural sector absorbed 35.9 percent of the total labour force in Indonesia and contributed 14.7 percent to the Indonesian GDP in 2012. Additionally, the agricultural sector serves as one of the key components of national efforts towards food self-sufficiency and poverty alleviation.
Women are involved in all activities in the agricultural sector, such as farming, animal husbandry and fisheries. However, despite serving as the backbone of one of the nation’s most economically important sectors, women in agriculture are marginalized and often have little access to financial resources, knowledge and technology to improve their crop yields and improve their livelihoods. In rural communities of Indonesia, agricultural production activities are carried out by family units. Yet women often have no control over valuable resources and assets such as land, labour and new technologies.
The Indonesian National Medium-Term Development Plan 2015–2019 explicitly stipulated efforts towards equality in its principles. The main areas foreseen were women’s access to higher education, health care and labour force opportunities, based on gender inequalities highlighted in the Human Development Index and Gender Development Index, such as gender gaps in education level and health status and low representation of women in main decision-making institutions. However, this Assessment found certain inadequacies in gender mainstreaming in main ministerial strategic planning documents for 2015–2019, where only collection of sex-disaggregated data was considered, with no further gender analysis undertaken.
The Presidential Instruction No. 9/2000 on Gender Mainstreaming provides the mandate for the Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection (MoWE-CP) to lead other ministries and agencies in developing policies and implementing gender mainstreaming internally through the establishment of a gender mainstreaming taskforce. This taskforce is embedded in the Planning and Budgeting Bureau. The performance and achievement of gender mainstreaming of each institution will be measured annually using certain criteria.
At the sub-national, provincial and regency levels, offices of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection play similar roles for gender mainstreaming of other technical offices. In many cases the offices of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection lack human resources and capacity on gender issues. The fieldwork conducted during this Assessment also found this to be the case in East Sumba, where one of the value chain interventions of FAO has taken place. Indonesia’s rural development is still lagging behind urban areas. This exacerbates urbanization and increased outmigration of workers abroad. Rural Indonesia is facing several challenges. According to official statistics for 2017, there is a high prevalence of poverty in rural areas; 12.85 percent of the poor live in isolation with limited access to transportation, especially in archipelago and border villages. Severe poverty adversely affects low-income rural men and women who work as subsistence, small-scale farmers and seasonal wage labourers in the agriculture, marine/fisheries, plantation and mining sectors. The latest Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) value for Indonesia was estimated at 0.029 in 2012. In the same year, 9.10 percent of population was vulnerable to multidimensional poverty and 1.24 percent of the population was suffering from severe multidimensional poverty.
Rural and indigenous women living in coastal, farming and forest-dependent communities are engaged in various agriculture, fisheries and forestry activities for their livelihoods in addition to their daily domestic responsibilities. Sometimes they have to take up the work typically done by men in agriculture, such as when massive rural-to-urban migration happens in an effort to secure better household livelihoods. The National Medium-Term Development Plan 2015–2019 noted that about 22.5 million households are engaged in agriculture, of which 20 percent are female-headed households (FHHs). In addition to migration, other factors such as climate change and land conversion from forest to plantation cash crop commodities affect rural women in different ways, including intensifying their domestic workloads.
In order to bridge the gap between rural and urban areas, one of the ‘Nawacita’ pillars of the current Government of Indonesia (GoI) prioritizes periphery development, in which agriculture and rural development are vital. Under this pillar, the GoI developed several key policies to bridge the gap between urban and rural areas. These include the Village Law No. 6/2014 that explicitly describes the vital importance of women’s empowerment and gender equality. There are a number of other laws, policies and programmes that aim to reduce rural poverty and maintain food security as well as increase Indonesian women’s contributions to, and involvement in, the economic sector, increase women’s access to income-generating activities to develop self-potential, and strengthen women’s bargaining position in accessing economic resources. However, challenges remain in mainstreaming gender throughout plans and programmes related to the agriculture and rural development sector.
The following are the major recommendations, based on the findings of this Assessment, for the GoI and FAO at the policy (macro), institutional (mesa) and community/household (micro) levels:
For the Government of Indonesia:
• Create mechanisms and procedures for collection of sex-disaggregated data and the conducting of gender analysis in the agriculture and rural development sector;
• Expand gender mainstreaming in the main agriculture and rural development-related policies to ensure women’s access to, and control over resources and assets;
• Develop a comprehensive policy on gender equality and women’s empowerment for agriculture and rural development-related programmes; and
• Ensure gender-balanced participation in policy-making processes at the macro level.
• Support national-level ministries to engage in capacity-building efforts on gender equality for sub-national level offices and deliver training courses on gender-related issues to university lecturers;
• Clearly highlight gender gap issues and define gender-responsive indicators to measure the agriculture and rural development programme outcomes;
• Enhance the role of sub-national village development offices so that they get actively engaged in the issues of women’s empowerment and gender equality; and
• Accelerate a gender-responsive budgeting process at the regency level to ensure women’s representation and participation in existing development planning mechanisms.
• Promote an integrated family farming approach through extension training and rural advisory services and encourage both women’s and men’s participation;
• Provide affordable quality childcare facilities through existing community-based organizations at the village level to free up women’s time and lighten their reproductive work burdens;
• Strengthen monitoring and evaluation of gender-responsive policy implementation, including through regular tracking of expenses on gender-responsive budgeting and auditing; and • Promote credit facilities, using village-owned cooperatives or financial services (BUMDes), and make them accessible for women and men farmers.
• Advocate for integrating gender equality concerns more deeply into the Village Law No. 6/2014;
• Promote the importance of gender mainstreaming in climate policies, practices and research, including activities around climate finance, to ensure that projects help women and men reduce their vulnerability and adapt to the impacts of climate change; and • Ensure that clearly defined gender targets of projects are fully understood by all stakeholders and partner organizations, and work to strengthen their sense of ownership on gender-related targets.
Meso/institutional level • Provide gender-sensitive data and measurable indicators in programme design and strategies to bridge gender gaps;
• Develop handy materials on gender and agriculture and rural development, featuring smart practices, to be circulated among field-level teams and local partners;
• Promote gender mainstreaming throughout the agriculture and rural development sector by organizing and facilitating workshops for local stakeholders and partners at programme locations;
• Support the GoI in generating concrete proposals for institutional arrangements that enhance rural and indigenous women’s inclusion in decision making and overall agricultural and rural development governance through highlighting good practices from FAO’s global experiences.
• Work through and with women’s groups to increase their entrepreneurial, managerial and technical skills as well as raising their self-confidence and leadership capacities;
• Facilitate women’s representation in community development planning dialogues and decision-making processes;
• Provide community members with more gender-sensitive training, such as creating demonstration plots, developing pro-women farmer field schools, and organizing farmer exchange visits;
• Organize training workshops on gender-sensitive indicators for monitoring and evaluation and assist in setting up community-based mechanisms to improve service delivery.