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Farmer’s Market: Central Jakarta, West Java

Don’t know where to go on weekends other than the shopping mall? You could perhaps pay a visit to Indonesia’s first farmers’ market, officially launched Saturday by the Agriculture Ministry and to be held every weekend.

Located at the neat National Monument (Monas) Park’s IRTI parking lot on Jl. Medan Merdeka Selatan, Central Jakarta, the market offers various agricultural products: fruit and vegetables, processed products and ornamental plants as the Jakarta Post article explains.

And they are all fresh, being sold by the farmers who grew them.
These farmers come from Jakarta and neighboring Banten and West Java provinces.

“We want to bring the farmers to meet face-to-face with customers so that they can earn more from their products,” said
Agriculture Minister Anton Apriyono at the launch of the market.

He said that farmers had long been a marginalized group, and only earned a pittance from their products, which were usually sold to middlemen, who ended up making more than the farmers.

“Based on a study, farmers could earn an additional 23 percent by selling their products directly,” explained Anton, citing the success of farmers’ markets in Malaysia, Britain and many other countries.

On the same occasion, the Agriculture Ministry’s director general for product processing and marketing, Djoko Said Damardjati, said that Jakarta was the first province in Indonesia to organize such a market.

“We’ll have farmers’ markets in two or three provinces in total by the end of the year,” said Djoko, adding that the other provinces would likely include Yogyakarta, Bandung in West Java, and Semarang in Central Java.

“They’ve already started the preparations,” he added.

According to Djoko, the ministry has set aside some Rp 400 million (approximately US$43,716) to help finance the program this year.
Overall, a total of 34 municipalities in 17 provinces of Indonesia will set up farmers’ markets over the next few years.

The ministry will provide all of the vendors with kiosks for free.
Based on data from the Agricultural Ministry, more than 80 percent of Indonesia’s farmers live under the poverty line. They made up 60 percent of Indonesia’s poor and account for 50 percent of the country’s total open unemployment.

The existing situation, said Anton, was partly caused by the mediated trading system, in which farmers sold their products cheap to middlemen, while customers purchased them at much higher prices.

This view was seconded by Agus, 42, a strawberry grower from Ciwidey, West Java, who was one of the farmers selling their products at the market. He said that while he sold strawberries at between Rp 15,000 and Rp 20,000 per kilogram to middlemen, customers had to pay around Rp 40,000 per kilogram in supermarkets.

He said he hoped that the market would secure him more customers, while giving him a chance to sell his products at better prices.

Agus’s kiosk, offering fresh strawberries and derivatives, such as strawberry juice and syrup, jam and sweets, seemed to be very popular among visitors to the “Pasar Tani Tugu“, as the market is known in Indonesian.

Besides some relatively common products, a lot of unusual agricultural products can also be found at the market, which will be held regularly on Saturdays and Sundays.