Grow Asia is a multi-stakeholder partnership platform that brings together farmers, governments, companies, NGOs and other stakeholders in Southeast Asia to develop inclusive and sustainable value chains. At Grow Asia’s core are three goals: to increase productivity, profitability, and environmental sustainability of smallholder agriculture across the region by helping farmers and the organisations that work with them access knowledge, technology, finance, and markets. Grow Asia is comprised of the regional Grow Asia Secretariat in Singapore; six Country Partnerships, each supported by an in-country Secretariat; and their Working Groups, which focus on specific issues or crop-based value chains.
The Partnership for Indonesia’s Sustainable Agriculture (PISAgro) is Grow Asia’s Indonesia Country Partnership (CP), and aims to improve the yields, incomes and environmental sustainability of 2 million smallholder farmers by 2023. PISAgro facilitates collaboration among government, international and local companies, NGOs, farmer organisations and other stakeholders in developing inclusive and sustainable value chains. Its 13 Working Groups (WGs) co-design and co-implement these value chain projects, bringing together stakeholders from different disciplines to leverage their expertise.
One promising way to reduce deforestation, improve food security, and end poverty is to improve productivity on small family-run farms. A range of actors – donors, NGOs, traders and consumer good companies – have delivered projects to lift smallholder farm yields. Achieving change is difficult, and what works, and what doesn’t, is the subject of significant debate. While Grow Asia encourages discussions on approaches that work well in the field, much of our work, including this study, focuses on a few key questions: how can actors from different sectors work together on the smallholder productivity challenge? How can businesses work with other market actors to achieve more than they can working alone? And crucially, what factors limit high-potential interventions from lifting smallholder livelihoods at scale?
A range of different models have been trialled in the Grow Asia network to make value chains more inclusive and profitable for farmers and off-takers alike. This case study looks at the attempt of Kirana Megatara – the largest producer of crumb rubber in Indonesia – in increasing the sustainability of rubber value chains. While the case study showcases certain good practices, it explores in particular the factors that hinder achieving positive impact at scale. This case study delivers important lessons about the centrality of commercial incentives, the alignment of stakeholders’ definitions of success and understanding the value-adding functions in existing markets.