Winners of the 2020 Shared Value Collaboration of the Year award, PRISMA and Corteva Agriscience have helped 40,000+ farmers across Madura, East Java to improve the cultivation of corn through better farming practices and hybrid seeds since 2016 – stimulating economic growth. Watch the video below, or read on for the full case study.
How hybrid corn unlocks better livelihoods for Indonesian farmers
Corn production in parts of Indonesia is undervalued. Traditionally farmers do not view it as a cash crop. Through its partnership with PRISMA, Corteva Agriscience is helping smallholder farmers realise the potential of hybrid corn seeds – a higher-performing and more resilient seed variety.
PRISMA is a market system development program that provides comprehensive and sustainable solutions for the prosperity of smallholder farming households. The partnership with Corteva aims to build local knowledge of the benefits of hybrid corn seeds as a way of improving productivity and incomes.
Inclusive economic growth empowers smallholder farmers
Building stronger ties with smallholder farmers encourages adoption of hybrid seed technology.
Investment in corn production in parts of Indonesia is low. Farmers are reluctant to buy higher-quality maize seeds because corn is not considered a viable cash crop, leading to economic stagnation and preserving the cycle of poverty.
Corteva Agriscience partnered with PRISMA in 2015 to build local knowledge of the benefits of hybrid corn seeds as a way of improving productivity and incomes. The partnership has dissolved many of the economic and social barriers faced by other private seed producers.
PRISMA helped to build connections with local communities through its market research and relationships with local governments. With market insights from PRISMA, Corteva refocused its marketing and distribution strategies to bring hybrid seed technologies and agronomic training to more than 18,000 farmers.
Between 2016-2018, smallholder farmers involved in the Corn Hybridization in Madura program saw their incomes rise by 170%. Corteva also saw in hybrid corn sales rise by 278%. This shared value approach stimulated economic growth in the community, inspiring local entrepreneurs and creating new kiosks selling the hybrid seeds.
Lifting farmers out of poverty
Improving productivity and market access for smallholder farmers drives inclusive economic growth.
East Java represents 30% of national corn production. Madura, an island in the province, is home to 370,000 corn farmers, accounting for 26% of farmers in the region.
Based on PRISMA’s impact assessment in 2017, 75% of these farmers lived on less than USD$5.50 a day. Nearly 80% use local seed varieties, generating approximately US$175 per hectare per season.
Research from PRISMA showed using hybrid corn seeds, alongside integrated farming methods, could increase incomes to $600 per hectare – improving corn yields by 130% on average.
Access to hybrid seeds became a strategic priority of the program. New routes to market included employing more young people as sales and promotion agents, as well as introducing mobile sellers.
The number of kiosks selling hybrid seeds in Madura grew by 42%, spurring growth along the entire value chain.
Why local partnerships are key to creating shared value
Seed producers face complex barriers to market in Indonesia. Smallholder farmers are a fragmented community due to their geographic and economic circumstances.
PRISMA conducted behaviour studies to understand these farmer’s perspectives. They observed that Maduranese farmers faced constraints in accessing and adopting quality hybrid corn seeds due to a lack of availability, education and promotional activities by seed producers.
Adoption of hybrid seeds increased from 10% to 14% in two years through the Corteva and PRISMA partnership. Smallholder farmers were reached through field visits facilitated by local farmer groups.
Collaborating with local partners that share a similar vision has been key to the program’s success, including financial institutions, buyers and state pawnshops. Their local knowledge helped determine the correct approach to driving the right behaviour change.
Where to next for the program?
Corteva’s purpose is to enrich the lives of smallholder farmers — for years to come. Its goal is to create a sustainable agricultural system throughout Indonesia.
The program has demonstrated that sustainable innovations, strategic partnerships and training programs can enrich the lives of smallholder farmers. Corteva and PRISMA are targeting 57,000 farming households in Indonesia by 2023, laying the foundations for a sustainable future for farming.
After the success in Madura, Corteva has identified other areas in Indonesia that have a low adoption of hybrid seeds and limited knowledge of new agricultural practices. The program is expanding into the Southern part of Central Java, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), and Sulawesi.