Depot Desa (Village Depot)

Increasing incomes of  smallholder farmers

Kopernik’s Depot Desa Initiative, or Village Depot in English, is providing increased economic opportunity for smallholder farmers. It is an agro-processing facility where farmers can access simple-to-use technologies that increase  the value of their crops, resulting in higher incomes. The facility also provides opportunities for farmers to connect with buyers and other markets beyond the middle-men to whom they are currently selling their produce at oftentimes very low prices.

The Problem

78 million Indonesians are smallholder farmers (they own less than 0.5 ha of land) - this is roughly 30% of the population. These farmers produce a myriad of crops, such as rice, cassava, maize, sorghum, coconut, cashews, cacao, coffee, candlenut, banana, mango and pineapple. In the case of many of these agricultural crops, Indonesia is among the top ten producers globally.

Despite this, smallholder farmers in Indonesia earn very little income for their produce and they are generally much poorer than the rest of the population. Often they sell their crops raw and unprocessed which is generally priced much lower than ‘value-added’ agricultural produce, such as fruits that have been dried or cashew nuts that are opened ready for packaging and consumption.

The two main reasons smallholder farmers are not adding value to their crops are:

  1. they don’t have access to the technology that can help them process their crops and sell them at a higher price, and
  2. they have limited access to markets and usually  sell their produce to middlemen with whom they have little bargaining power.

In some cases farmers do process their own crops, but they often use time-consuming, manual processing methods resulting in poor-quality produce, which still doesn’t earn a high price.

What we're doing

Kopernik is working with farmers to pilot the Depot Desa initiative in two locations in Indonesia; Tabanan (Bali) and Adonara (East Flores). In both locations, we are bundling several agro-processing technologies and services, relevant to the the specific needs of the area, into a central facility for smallholder farmers to access. The available technologies allow farmers to process their raw crops to increase their value. They are simple to use and available on a pay-per-use basis. We are currently focusing on adding value to cashew, sorghum, coconut, and cacao crops.

Where possible and appropriate, we will source emerging, DC-powered agro-technology that uses renewable energy to limit environmental impact in these regions.

How can you help?

We have several experimental projects within the Depot Desa Initiative that are currently available for funding. These exciting projects test simple solutions to common farming problems that are preventing farmers from increasing their income and food security. See all available experimental projects here.