POLICY BRIEF ABOUT FARMERS INSTITUTION Evaluation of the Draft Revised Regulation of the Minister of Agriculture

POLICY BRIEF ABOUT FARMERS INSTITUTION Evaluation of the Draft Revised Regulation of the Minister of Agriculture

farmer organization meeting

farmer organization meeting

POLICY BRIEF

ABOUT FARMERS INSTITUTION

Evaluation of the Draft Revised Regulation of the Minister of Agriculture No. 82/2013 on Guidelines for Facilitation for Farmers and the Association of Farmers for Farmers Organization guidelines.

By:

  • Indonesian Peasant Union (SPI)
  • Indonesian Peasant Alliance (API)
  • Forum for Farmers and Fishermen Indonesia Society (WAMTI)
  • Indonesian Human Rights Committee for Social Justice (IHCS)

Introduction

One of the mandate of the Law on Protection and Empowerment of Farmers is the strengthening of farmer organizations. The presence of the word “strengthening”, means that farmers institutions are existed, so that the mandate to the Government and Local Government is to facilitate and encourage the strengthening of farmer organizations.

In fact, there are farmers’ institutions that especially work on farming activity facilitated by the Government and Local Government, such as the Farmers Groups  (Kelompok Tani or in short is called “Poktan”) and the Association of Farmers Groups (called “Gapoktan”). There is also an organization that historically formed by the government, it was not only for farming, but also engaging political organizing, for example HKTI (Himpunan Kerukunan Tani Indonesian or Indonesian Farmers Association).

Aside from the organizations facilitated by the Government/local government, there are also institutions that serves as farmer struggle organizations that fight for agrarian reform, and to defend farmers’ rights. In the area of cultivation or farming they are  also developing ecologically friendly agriculture through organic fertilizer, plant breeding, and development of cooperatives.

Therefore, strengthening farmers institutions are not only characterized by Poktan and Gapoktan, but it also incorporates as struggle organization and economic cooperation efforts.

Constitutional Rights

Article 70 paragraph (1) of the Law of Protection and Empowerment of Farmers stated:

“The Farmers’ Institutional is referred to Article 69 paragraph (1) shall consist of:

  1. Farmers’ Groups
  2. Association of Farmers Groups
  3. Association of Agricultural Commodities
  4. Board of National Agricultural Commodities

The arrangement of farmers’ organizations as stated in the Article 70 paragraph (1) of the Law on Protection and Empowerment of Farmers, is the practice of state corporatism. Meaning that government facilitates the formation and determine the form of the farmers’ organizations (centralism).

State corporatism in the past was done by New Order military regime, namely the imposition of farmers’ organizations in a single institution which was being co-opted by the state. This means that farmers are given the opportunity to organize in an institution that has been determined.

That determination of the farmers’ institutionals unilaterally by the government is ignoring other farmers institutionals in accordance with the principles in Article 69 paragraph (2) of the Act Protection and Empowerment of Farmers, for example: Farmers Union, institutional Subak (Bali), women peasant’s groups, and so forth.

Whereas in Article 69 paragraph (2) of the Law on Protection and Empowerment of Farmers has said, the establishment of Institutional Farmers have a combination of culture, norms, values, and local farmers. This allows the formation of farmers’ organizations of various kinds in accordance with the value system that developed in the farming community.

Article 69 of the Law on Protection and Empowerment of Farmers states:

(1) Government and Local Government in accordance with the authority are obliged to encourage and facilitate the formation of Farmers and Institutional Economics of Farmers.

(2) The institution establishment as referred to in paragraph (1) shall be done with a mix of culture, norms, values and local wisdom of the farmers.

The determination of the institutional form of farmer unilaterally by the government, resulting in farmers who join in farmer institutions that differ from those mentioned by the Law on Protection and Empowerment of Farmers, are not empowered and protected by the Government and Local Government. So that the application of Article 70 paragraph (1) of the Law of Protection and Empowerment of Farmers brings discrimination against farmers.

Furthermore, in Article 71 of the Law on Protection and Empowerment of Farmers stated: “Farmers are obliged to join and actively participate in the Institutional Farmers referred to in Article 70 paragraph (1).”

That under Article 28E paragraph (3) of the Constitution of 1945, everyone was given the right to freely form or join a membership or being a manager of organization in the society in the territory of the Republic of Indonesia. Freedom of association set in Article 28E paragraph (3) is a right (to provide flexibility to the holders of the rights to use its right or not), it is not an obligation as stipulated in the Law on Protection and Empowerment of Farmers, the government should not have to interfere or determine the institutional form of farmers and protect the diversity of forms of the farmer organization who has been existed. The government should allow farmers on the basis of their consciousness to determine the type of institution and type of their participations, so that the government’s main duty is to protect the institution and admit it.

That obliges farmers to join the farmer institutions whose shape has been determined unilaterally by the government and outside of the initiative of farmers, is against the independence or freedom of association, as has been mandated by Article 28E paragraph (3) of the Act of 1945.

According to the opinion of the Constitutional Court in the trial of the Law on Protection and Empowerment of Farmers, it was stated:

First, Article 70 paragraph (1) of the Law of Farmers Protection has limited institutional peasant farmers in the Farmers Group, Association of Agricultural Commodities and the Commodity Board. The terms of limitative institutional organization of farmers in quo article by writing the name of the organization in capital letters shows the nomenclature of organization that has been determined.

Second. The establishment of institutional of farmers by the state, while it should give the farmers opportunity to form their own organization, by their own in order to strengthen and to fight for farmers’ interests.

Third. The institutional formation of farmers by the state does not mean that farmers are forbidden to establish other institutions of farmers, or it is the obligation of farmers to join or not to join the institutional of farmers established by government and farmers can also join a farmer institutions set up by themselves.

Fourth. Government assistance should not just be given to institutional of farmers who joined the farmer institution established by the government only, but must also be given to the farmer institutions set up by farmers themselves or to farmers who join the organization formed by farmers themselves which are informed or coordinated to the government.

Fifth. The provisions of Article 70 paragraph (1) of the Law on Protection and Empowerment of Farmers has hindered the rights guaranteed by Article 28E Paragraph (3) of the Constitution 1945 to form a union as the institutional of farmers. The correlation of Article 70 paragraph (1) of the Law on Protection and Empowerment of Farmers with the violation of the rights to express thoughts and attitudes appropriate conscience, especially in the formation of genuine farmer institutions originated from the farmers themselves, as guaranteed by Article 28E (3) The Constitution 1945.

Sixth. The phrase “obligation” shall be misconstrued as something that should be obliged so that it would curb farmers’ freedom of assembly and association. The phrase shall not be separated from the necessity to be obeyed, respected, and can not be denied, so when farmers who did not join in the organization set up by the government will be discriminated against on the protection of farmers by the government.

Seventh. Article 70 paragraph (1) of the Law on Protection and Empowerment of Farmers against the Constitution 1945 and has no legal binding effect if it does not have meaning of “including farmer institutions set up by the farmers.”

Eighth. Article 70 paragraph (1) of the Constitution 1945 is revised to “institutional of Farmers referred to in Article 69 paragraph (1) shall consist of: a. Farmers Group; b. Association of Farmers Group; c. Association of Agricultural Commodities; and d. National Council of Agricultural Commodities and farmer institutions set up by the farmers.

Ninth. The word of ‘obligation’ under Article 71 of the Law on Protection and Empowerment of Farmers opposed to The Constitution 1945 and is not legally binding.

Tenth. Article 71 of the Law on Protection and Empowerment of Farmers is revised to “Farmers join and actively participate in the Institutional Farmers referred to in Article 70 paragraph (1).”

The Revised of Ministry of Agriculture Regulation

The Ministry of Agriculture is preparing the Draft Revision of the Minister of Agriculture Regulation Number 82/2013 on the Guidelines for Facilitation to Farmers Groups and Association of Farmers Group to the Guidelines on the Farmers Institution.

In the scope of the draft, any farmer institution is in accordance with the decision of the Constitutional Court in a judicial review of Law Protection and Empowerment of Farmers, but in the torso it only farmers groups (Poktan), Association of farmers groups (Gapoktan),  and Associations of Commodity and Commodity Board were recognized.

Referring to the Law on Protection and Empowerment of Farmers, as well as the decision of the Constitutional Court on judicial review, therefore the facilitation of the Government and Local Government to be included in the guidelines facilitation, as follows:

  1. Recognition of the organizational structure;
  2. Planning: Deliberation of Farmers in the planning of agricultural land protection as mandated by the Law of Protection on Sustainable Food Agricultural Land;
  3. Information: Support to the means of agricultural production. The availability of land and water, early warning of climate change;
  4. Business certainty through marketing protection, the relief tax of farmland and building in agriculture, elimination of high cost;
  5. Social security: the help of crop failure due to extraordinary events, agricultural insurance;
  6. Education and training: counseling, assistance, exchange of farmers (an exchange study);
  7. Capital: access to banking and partnerships.

Jakarta, 8 April  2016

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