• Grow Asia Communications

Meet our Indonesia Partnerships' New Executive Director, Insan Syafaat

We are delighted to welcome Insan Syafaat as the new Executive Director of the Partnership for Indonesia's Sustainable Agriculture (PISAgro). In his role, Insan will manage the overall execution of PISAgro’s strategic vision - supporting the sustainable and inclusive agricultural development in Indonesia.

In this Q&A, Insan tells us more about his expertise, passions and vision for transforming Indonesia's agriculture sector through multi-stakeholder collaboration.

Welcome to the Grow Asia network, Insan! Can you tell us about yourself and your experience? Prior to joining PISAgro, I have had more than 5 years’ experience in the sustainable agriculture policy and implementation space, especially - coming from Sinar Mas - within the palm oil sector. I was working as the assistant to the Managing Director for Sustainability and Strategic Stakeholders Engagement. From that experience I have learnt that sustainable agricultural development necessitates more than being “green” - it should involve social responsibility and economic viability. Sustainability should be embedded into our core operations and DNA.

I have also come to realize how critical SDG 17 (Partnerships) is to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals - working with different stakeholders, creating synergies, partnerships, and collaboration for impact at scale. I am excited to bring my experience in this area to PISAgro and continue to promote better coordination between government officials, non-government entities, customers, financial institutions, and of course the grower community.

(You can read Insan’s biography here, or connect with him on LinkedIn here)

What, in your perspective, are some of the key challenges facing Indonesia's agriculture sector? Indonesia’s agricultural sector is sustained by smallholders, who are central to the majority of commodity supply chains in the country. Despite the crucial role they play in ensuring food security for Indonesia, they continue to face significant organizational, productivity, financial, legal, and sustainability challenges. Improving their livelihood and responsible practices are therefore key to improving the Indonesia’s agriculture sector.

At PISAgro, we have learnt that the best approach to overcoming the challenges facing smallholder value chains is multi-stakeholder collaboration. We call this approach the ‘Closed-Loop Model’, whereby companies work hand-in-hand with smallholder cooperatives, Government, the financial sector and civil society organizations to lift smallholder productivity, profitability and environmental sustainability. Each stakeholder plays a critical role within this model, providing significant opportunities to achieve scale: private companies absorb agricultural products; banks back up funding for off-takers (i.e., partners who buy goods from farmers and support cooperatives by providing credit to smallholders at low interest rates; cooperatives help seek credit disbursement and improve the quality of both agricultural products and human resources.

What excites you most about PISAgro and the Grow Asia network? The first word in the PISAgro name itself - partnership. From experience, I have learnt that “if we want to go fast, go alone, if we want to go far, go together” (African Proverb). I believe that being part of this platform will reveal so many opportunities for me to create, establish, and develop many, many more partnerships both within and between single commodities. There is no easy task as the challenges faced by the sector – and especially the smallholders at its center - are multifaceted, with success being reliant on concerted collaboration between the many stakeholders involved.

Working closely with Grow Asia and its network, I believe, will open more of these opportunities for partnerships. I am hugely excited to learn from and connect with the other Country Partnerships across the region, to share thoughts and ideas, potential resources, to understand issues and challenges, and to find solutions together moving forward.

What are your priorities for your first 100 days in this role? First, is to strengthen the core team of PISAgro Secretariat. I believe this is the key to the organization’s success. It is going to be a small team, but one that carries a great responsibility. I want to make sure that each one understands the nature of PISAgro’s work and how to capitalize on our network to increase productivity. Second, is to listen, listen, and listen. Setting up a number of initial meetings with the Board, Working Groups, and Members of PISAgro; to listen to their inputs and feedback and learn what Secretariat can do better moving forward. I will also use these meetings to discuss their expectations; understand their challenges and, most importantly, how to find solutions together. In addition, I would also like to continue and build on dialogues with non-members, such as the National Government, KADIN (the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry) and other platforms.

Insan can be reached at isyafaat@pisagro.org. To learn more about the PISAgro, visit www.pisagro.org

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