Cashews are expensive to buy, but Indonesian cashew farmers don't get paid a high price for them. So who gets the profits? Trace the journey of cashews from farm to market with some farmers from Flores who grow them.
Watch the video and number the topics below in the order in which they are mentioned in the video. The activity is suitable for Intermediate 2 and Advanced students.
An idea being imitated
Another way of increasing the value of crops
Better quality of life for all the family
Buyers control the market
Farmer's cooperatives and actions
The market cost vs the money farmers get
Understanding how the market works
Cashews are a poor man's crop and a rich man's food. Australians can pay $28 for a kilogram of cashews, whilst the Indonesian farmer only receives $1. But things are changing.
I grow rice, banana, vegetables and corn. For cash crops, I farm cashews, copra, candlenut and coffee. I'm responsible for six people - my wife, Maria, and four children. I began farming in 2003. The buyers control the price and used a system of giving loans to farmers, who then paid back the loan with our produce at harvest time. However, this was very unfair because the buyers would give us a very low price for our produce.
From 2009, World Vision started working with the farmers on the eastern side of the island to expand their markets and increase their income. Together, we did a market analysis and identified the five products in greatest demand at the local markets - copra, or dry coconuts, candlenut, cashew nuts, tamarind and cacao. We then took ten farmers from their villages to follow the journey of their produce. We drove them to Maumere, the capital of Flores, to see the larger daily markets where their produce was sold again. Next, we travelled together for three days by boat to Surabaya, the second largest city in Indonesia. Here farmers saw warehouses, and companies buying cashews to export overseas. They understood that cashews were processed, graded and used across the world. The farmers found their cashews had much greater value than they realised. We then worked with the farmers to improve the quantity and quality of their product, and improve their bargaining position with the buyers. This led the farmers to join together and sell their produce at a weekly auction.
Now all the local farmers bring their produce to the auction and sell our combined produce in bulk. Now the buyers have to come to our auction and bid for our produce. A contact in Maumere tells me the market price for cashews from the day before, and now we have better market information about a fair price for our product. This has increased the income for all our crops. For example, the cash we receive from a kilogram of cashew nuts has more than doubled, from 7,000 t0 16,000 rupiah.
I buy crops from village farmers and sell them later at markets in larger towns, like Larantuka or Maumere. With the farmers' cooperative market, the farmers now have a better life. They can get the better price and they feel that they get a fair profit from their work on the farm.
World Vision has also helped us add value to our crops. One example is that villagers are now shelling the cashews. This increases our income too. As the cashews are shelled, they're graded into two groups - broken and unbroken. We receive four times more money for the unbroken nuts. The more we do, the better we get.
The farmer's cooperative means that families can send children to school and university, which they couldn't afford to do before. I have graduated from senior high school and will go to university to study health. I would like to become a nurse or a midwife so that I can help other people.
The cooperative has meant that we're now working more closely together. This new market system means that we receive a better price that helps our whole family. I have been able to build a toilet and bathroom in our house. We can now save if our children get sick and need to go to hospital. We can also save each month for the children's schooling.
There are 1,500 farmers and 16 villages involved in the farmers' cooperative. This story is now being repeated in other rural areas of Indonesia. As local farmers get access to better market information, they're able to get a more just and fair price for their work.
I feel happy with this new system because we can now get a good price for our work. One day I hope we can go online, and my children will continue this work in the future.
An idea being imitated -7
Another way of increasing the value of crops -5
Better quality of life for all the family -6
Buyers control the market -2
Farmer's cooperatives and actions -4
The market cost vs the money farmers get -1
Understanding how the market works -3