FoodSTART+ and SOLID Build Capacity of Facilitators for Farmer Business School Approach in Indonesia

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The Food Resilience Through Root And Tuber Crops In Upland and Coastal Communities of The Asia-Pacific (FoodSTART+), and Smallholder Livelihood Development Project (SOLID), both International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)-funded grant and loan projects respectively, are jointly collaborating to implement the Farmer Business School in Maluku and Maluku Utara provinces.

As the first step in this process, FoodSTART+ and SOLID successfully conducted a Training of Facilitators (TOF) for the Farmer Business School (FBS) with Gender and Climate Change Perspectives from 19-23 February 2018 at the Grand Majang Hotel, Ternate City, Maluku Utara Province, Indonesia.

The FoodSTART+ project is a collaboration between the International Potato Center (CIP) and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), who partner with a number of IFAD investment projects, including SOLID in Indonesia. CIAT leads the coordination and implementation of FoodSTART+ in Indonesia and Vietnam.

The five-day training of facilitators started with an opening speech from Ir. Syaiful Turuy, head of the Food Office of Maluku Utara province. In addition to lectures, panel discussions, and exercises, a market visit was also conducted for participants to practice market assessment.  The training ended with action plans developed by the facilitators in their respective areas.

There were 31 training participants, comprising extension agents and farmer leaders at the village level included some relevant officers (five villages/FBS groups per province, with two facilitators per village), and SOLID staff from district and province levels. The training facilitators and resource persons included Dr. Christopher Wheatley, marketing specialist and member of the FoodSTART+ technical advisory pool, Ms. Arma Bertuso, FoodSTART+ senior research associate, and Ms. Haryanti Koostanto CIAT-FoodSTART+ research assistant. Prof. Sri Widowati of IAARRD was a resource person for Module 5 on testing and developing innovations, where she presented a wide range of options for root crop processing technologies and food products. Dr. Widowati also joined the panel with Dr. H Muhammad Amin, a representative from the Institute for Food and Drug and Cosmetic Assessment, Indonesian Ulama Council for Halal Certification (Lembaga Pengkajian Pangan Obat-obatan dan Kosmetika/LP-POM – Majelis Ulama Indonesia). Mr. Syafri Annas, a representative from the Center for Drug and Food Control in Sofifi – Maluku Utara, also served as resource person Module 7, where he discussed support services that can be accessed by the FBS groups.

The final session of the training event included action planning by the two provinces for the implementation of the FBS process over the next eight months, and culminating with the launch of a new business by each FBS group (five per province). After the training, key persons from SOLID and FoodSTART+ met to agree on details of action plan implementation, on FoodSTART+ support to monitoring and mentoring of the process, and on the immediate next steps for the collaboration in the FBS sites in both Maluku and Maluku Utara provinces.

The FBS cycle is planned to start in March 2018 with a target business launch of the enterprises in October 2018. FoodSTART+ will provide the technical backstopping and monitoring-mentoring throughout the implementation of the Farmer Business School.

Read the original post on the IFAD Asia website.