Passion for Passion: How smallholders in Indonesia uplift themselves with Juice

Written By:Jesko Johannsen
Date:19 January 2024
Theme:Social Situation
Women taking a chat during farmwork in Indonesia

In the tranquil village of Danau Jaya, Buay Pemaca, nestled in the heart of South Sumatra, resides Ibu Suryani and her husband Nasikun. Tending to their small coffee farm, the family has faced the ebb and flow of agricultural challenges for decades. Yet, their resilience and a stroke of serendipity in 2018 brought them into contact with Hanns. R. Neumann Stiftung (HRNS), supported by The J.M. Smucker Co. Little did they know that this encounter would transform their lives and the fate of their community.

Smallholders in Indonesia used to struggle with unreliable harvests

Fifty years ago, Suryani's parents settled in this area, grappling with the dense jungle to cultivate sustenance and commercial crops. Despite years of hard work, they faced the unpredictability of farming—some years brought bountiful harvests, while others witnessed crop failures and plummeting prices. The struggle for survival was real for many farmers in the region.

The turning point for Suryani and Nasikun occurred when they enrolled in the HRNS project. Empowered by newfound knowledge and skills, they became eager advocates for trying innovative approaches to farming. The training introduced them to integrated farming, incorporating productive shade trees like avocado and durian, along with crops such as passion fruit, ginger, and chilis. HRNS aimed to foster sustainable agriculture that not only benefited the environment but also uplifted the local community.

Passion fruit juice made in Indonesia

Passionate about exploring new ideas, Suryani and Nasikun incorporated passion fruit into their farm. To their delight, it flourished abundantly, becoming a staple in their daily diet. The success caught the attention of HRNS trainers, who found themselves making regular visits to witness the thriving passion fruit on their farm.

In 2022, HRNS welcomed Anita Darienarita, a gender and youth expert, to further enhance gender equity. Beyond that, Anita's expertise in product development propelled HRNS towards income generation from farm-based products. During a women’s group meeting in Buay Pemaca, Anita tasted a glass of yellow passion fruit juice that sparked an idea for a potential product.

Anita, Suryani, and a group of women collaborated to delve into the intricacies of commercial product development. Armed with basic financial calculations and a rudimentary business plan, they identified the tools and steps for a small commercial trial. HRNS supported the procurement of packaging materials online, arranged label printing, and explored conservation methods for passion fruit juice, settling on vitamin C for its health benefits.

Full action for marketing the passion fruit juice from Indonesia

Under the brand name "Passion Fresh," the team introduced two versions of the juice—concentrate and ready-to-drink. Despite packaging challenges in the village, HRNS stepped in to facilitate the purchase of bottles online. The product's quality and presentation caught the eye of government officials during local fairs, leading to a unique opportunity for HRNS Entrepreneurs.

Selected for a business training program in Palembang, the provincial capital, Suryani and her peers embarked on a 7-hour bus journey. Armed with product samples and enthusiasm, they learned about production, health requirements, halal certification, and online marketing. The event was a resounding success, with their products selling out and establishing valuable long-term connections.

This success story of Ms. Suryani and her passion fruit juice is a testament to HRNS's commitment to replicate such triumphs for more women and young individuals. Every village presents a unique opportunity, with women's groups creating snacks, youth groups venturing into palm sugar juice, and mushroom production gaining traction. HRNS's ongoing support within The J.M. Smucker Co funded program ensures these budding entrepreneurs receive the guidance needed to build sustainable businesses, fostering a resilient and eco-friendly future for the local community.

As we savor the sweetness of success in South Sumatra, the journey doesn't end here. Continuous support from HRNS is crucial to transition from local sales to sustained production, reaching markets far and wide. With each small business taking root, a more resilient and sustainable future emerges, painting a hopeful picture for the local environment and its industrious community.