Kamis, 03 Mei 2018


Women and Food Sovereignty

Women are key actors to world food security. FAO estimates increase of food production by women by 30—40% can reduce global hunger by 12—17%. Meanwhile, 240 million Indonesians also depend heavily on female farmers, amounting to about 65% of total number of farmers in Indonesia.
Women in agriculture involve from land preparation to post-harvest. Women are also known to have important role in selecting and exchanging seeds between villages. SERUNI in Teluk Kabupaten Batang village, Jambi province on around 1970, and the majority of women in the village exchanges seeds from one village to another. They planted local seeds, such as jelatik rice and gold needles.
According to women in Teluk village, planting local seeds like jelatik and gold needs makes bigger profits and produces more nutritious foods because local seeds adapt with weather change without having to use chemical pesticides and fertilizer intake.
“We used to just burn thatch and dry grass mixed with lemongrass leaves and ginger. Smoke from burning the lemongrass leaves and ginger is potent to repel pests in the rice” said Sarah, telling her experience to SERUNI.
But the story and experience of the women above did not last long since the government intensively introduced transgenic seeds by forcing farmers to produce transgenic seeds that require higher production costs. Since then, hundreds of farmers failed to harvest because of the difficulties faced on repelling pests and so, forced to use chemical pesticides and fertilizers.
As a result, poverty became rampant almost throughout the countryside in Indonesia. Structurally, the cause of the poverty is the Indonesian government regime’s partiality on seed corporations owned by imperialism. In a short time, Syngenta, Monsanto, and DuPont Company succeeded in destroying the farmers’ seeds and more than 10.000 rice seed varieties. Around 90% of hybrid corn seeds are controlled by multinational companies, one control about 45 seeds circulating in Indonesia.
Monopoly by horticultural seed and agricultural companies in Indonesia intensifies and increases for World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) gives full control to multinational corporations to dominate market’s commodity harvest, transgenic seeds, and chemical fertilizers.
Overall, WTO along with other regional and bilateral agreements have allowed TNCs to become referees of agriculture and food policy in Indonesia. This caused the increasing loss of public recognition of women’s knowledge and skill as the deciding subject, nurturing local seeds traditionally in rural areas.
In addition, the dominance of agricultural technology tools that has been going on since the Green Revolution until now has been making female farmers lost their jobs in the land. Effective use of huller (motor grinder) has shifted the traditional role of women in the countryside as the stackers of rice. Food Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimated that the introduction of hullers in Java has resulted in 1.2 million women who did not have land lost their jobs.
The presence of agricultural products belonging to the developed countries is the face of the crisis of overproduction in agricultural products where imperialist domestic products flood the domestic market is also dependent on food import schemes.
In fact, the panic over the world food crisis is more caused by speculation in order to take advantage of the food commodity trade. Therefore, food commodity prices are more likely to fluctuate and make increase of food price unrelated to production reality.
Every year, the increase in food prices causes women to further limit household expenditure needs. Women as mothers and wives will always prioritize the most nutritious food for their husbands and children. Women will usually eat leftovers, ignoring their own health and diet.

Cheap Labour

In a state system that advocates a semi-feudal economic order, the livelihood of women will be much more difficult. This is because the state is the main instrument that prioritizes imperialist interests perpetuate the patriarchal culture rooted in society.
The form is stereotype or label of women as weak labour, justifying it with women are not head of family and only works to help their family.
Hence, corporations and landlords employ female farmers with lower wage than male farmers. Gender pay gap is 14.5% — 14.5% less than male farmers.
The table above illustrates how the gap between female and male farmers’ wage range from around Rp10.000 (under 1USD) per day with the same type of work. However, pay discrimination is considered normal because women are perceived to have “lighter” work.
The “lighter” work is, for example, hoeing, while male farmers carry the spraying machine. However, in the same area, there are women who also carry the spraying machine. Is not the essence of all work is the same, that is an activity that produces new value, both social and agricultural work.
In the content of agricultural labour, the work of women in hoeing and men carrying fertilizer or pesticide spraying machines, on the essence of the value of work is not different at all. This is because those are just methods of producing agricultural production. If the essence of all work is the same, then there is no reason to justify pay gap between female and male farmers.
Amidst the work burden that women must bear, after working on the land women should run “obligations” as wives and as mothers to watch children and serve their husbands at home. Thus, the majority of women do not have enough time to rest and develop their capacity in social activities.
In addition, the burden of women multiply for women also have to face the risk of losing land. This is because the Jokowi government’s development program still relies on development based on natural resource management. Therefore, lands of smallholder’s develop into large-scale land commodity. There are seven food commodities that can be converted into energy raw materials, such as soybean, corn, wheat, jathropa, cassava, and palm oil.
Under the government of Jokowi-Yusuf Kalla, Indonesia makes biofuels a prima donna business because the imperialists continue to invest in grants and debts to Indonesia. Meanwhile, to ensure their interest, police and military personnel are used to secure companies, even with killing, shooting, and terrorizing the farmers.
Aside of violence, Jokowi Widodo and Yusuf Kalla government also use dividing land through a redistribution and legislation program of 9 million hectares of land, and achieving the target of 12.7 million hectares for Social Forestry allocation, such as Community Forest (HKM), Village Forest (HD), and Community Plantation Forest (HTR).
The practice of Jokowi’s Agrarian Reform Program is distributing HGU landowners’ former HGU (large plantations), the landowners’ neglected land (large plantation), open land access to big landowners, such as PERHUTANI to poor farmers by intercropping, PHBM, and partnership.
Thus, land monopoly by landlords will increase in exploiting female farmers. The scheme can’t even break the chain of land ownership that has been the right of men. Women are increasingly losing the sovereignty of food crops and medicinal plants that become preferred the whole family is sick. 
This means setbacks for women’s lives correlates with the loss of land as a source of living of women. In fact, what is meant to be a practice of removing feudalism and imperialism results in declining women’s rights of land as a source of live. Women are more likely to be vulnerable because of the limited access and service of health and education.

Women’s Statement and Demands on Food

The root of food problem is on the inequality of land tenure and agrarian resources. By definition, agrarian reform is an attempt to reform the agrarian structure by eliminating the monopoly of land tenure and agrarian resources by distributing land and agrarian resources to farmers, both men and women.
For women, agrarian reform gives a more concrete of guarantee rather than economic and political rights. This means women have an adequate base in terms of participation and economic and political rights. It is this basis that will sustain the women’s movement in general to annul all forms of discrimination, to destroy the patriarchal foundation in the political, economic, and cultural fields. In the context of women’s advocacy, agrarian reform seeks to dismantle all forms of discriminatory relations.
No monopoly will be the foundation of the implementation of rural democracy. Democratization in social relations will be the antithesis of discrimination towards women. Thus, it is impossible agrarian reform movement to be carried out without including the interests of the women’s movement. The women’s movement shall be actively involved in the agrarian reform movement. Both are prerequisites that are each related and inseparable.

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SERUNI atau Serikat Perempuan Indonesia adalah organisasi perempuan yang memiliki cita-cita kesetaraan gender dan kehidupan lebih baik bagi perempuan Indonesia.

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