Development and Urbanization
Organic farming in Indonesia has developed from the struggle towards environmental protection, the betterment of farmers’ livelihood, and the commodification of premium agricultural products. In recent times, several organic commodities, such as snake fruits and coconut flower sugar, are specifically targeted for global market, for instance Europe and America. Based on ethnographic research among organic coconut tappers and artisan coconut sugar makers in Kulon Progo, Central Java, this paper elaborates the challenges that organic coconut tappers and artisan coconut sugar makers encounter when they are faced with the unpredictable global market and nearly non-existent local market. This paper begins with the brief history of the creation of organic coconut sugar which was initiated by a number of NGOs and farmer communities. In the second part, environmental and social obstacles, such as geographical remoteness and perceptions on organic farming, are described to illustrate the difficulties of bringing this artisan product to the global market. In the third part, accounts on the experiences of coconut tappers and coconut sugar makers which are resulted from the rural dynamic of this particular context are elaborated further. On the one hand, the export of organic coconut sugar has successfully boosted the living standards of many coconut farmers and their families. On the other hand, the trickle-down effect from unpredictable global market does not convey the promising future of organic farming. This example poses a question whether a comprehensive commodity-based analysis is crucial in developing organic farming of the country.