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Aria CEO William Sjaichudin and Gokomodo CEO and founder Samuel Tirtasaputra
East Ventures

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8 November, 2022

From Portfolios

Collaboratively leveraging agritech for resilient and inclusive growth

Indonesia is an agricultural powerhouse with over 42 million hectares under cultivation, yet productivity is widely considered to be suboptimal.

According to the World Bank, 93 percent of Indonesia’s agriculture output is dominated by smallholder farmers who earn an average of US$ 3.20 per day, younger generations are becoming increasingly uninterested in the sector.

Together, these threaten future food security in the 270-million strong population, not to mention Indonesia’s ability to supply palm oil and other commodities to the global market.

Gokomodo and Aria are among the new Indonesian agritech champions vying to solve this problem. These homegrown companies are frontrunners on a wave of agritech innovation backed by funding from top-tier regional investors such as East Ventures.

Through its digital procurement and distribution platform, Gokomodo has made it easier and faster for both agribusiness corporates and smallholder farmers to access uniformly high-quality agricultural input, such as fertilizer, in what has traditionally been a highly opaque industry.

Gokomodo CEO and founder Samuel Tirtasaputra said that by leveraging the company’s bulk buying and distribution capabilities, Gokomodo is able to make quality agricultural inputs affordable and accessible to all players, including smallholder farmers in remote areas who must often pay more for fertilizer and other inputs.

Over 3,500 agricultural businesses have already joined Gokomodo’s platform. Having attracted a robust US$ 26 million series A funding round, the company is expanding its physical distribution infrastructure to better reach smallholder farmers and improve their income through enabling higher yields.

Meanwhile, Aria‘s drone-sensing services can intelligently monitor field conditions and make recommendations to sustainably increase farming productivity. In fact, one of its clients experienced a 95 percent improvement in quantitative achievement within three months with Aria.

Aria can also help farmers to reduce their environmental footprint.

“Information collected by Aria’s IoT [internet of things] devices can be used to closely calibrate the amount of fertilizer and other inputs needed, thus preventing soil damage and run-off from excessive fertilization and improving plant yields,” explained Aria CEO William Sjaichudin.

Other benefits include 90 percent reduction of water usage by drone spraying compared to manual spraying.

By enabling farmers and agribusinesses to access better quality inputs and use them more efficiently, these agritech companies have the potential to revolutionize the sector. Not only in terms of yields, but also by attracting and retaining young people in farming, which is increasingly perceived to be an unattractive field.

This initiative will require all stakeholders to pitch in and level the playing field so that even small farmers can reap benefits from their activities.

“We have to start thinking about these challenges together now,” says Tirtasaputra, “so that we can collaboratively build a generation of smart farmers who can figure out how to sustainably feed the Indonesian people.”

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Originally published by The Jakarta Post G20 Digest Edition.