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Accepted Paper:

Digital entrepreneurs and marginal farmers in Indonesia: bridging the gap?  
Lilis Mulyani (National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) Indonesia) Gutomo Bayu Aji (BRIN) Heni Kurniasih (SMERU Research Institute) Anna Sanders (The Australian National University)

Short abstract:

Marginal farmers experience multiple pressures on their livelihoods and barriers to technology uptake and adoption. We critically reflect on the assumptions and implications of digital transformation by asking who gains benefits and what practices are enabled through agricultural technology.

Long abstract:

An increasing number of bottom-up initiatives and successful start-ups (e.g., Agrowing and TaniHub in agriculture, eFishery and Aruna in fisheries) are connecting end-customers with farmers in Indonesia. While mainstream news media often portrays young agricultural entrepreneurs as successful entrepreneurs for improving agricultural innovation and food security, rural farming communities grapple with persistent poverty, land and food insecurities, and climate vulnerabilities. Marginal farmers confront multiple challenges, including limited access to technology such as smartphones and the internet, as well as varying levels of trust within their communities, digital literacy, and awareness. This paper critically reflects on the assumptions and implications of digital transformation and government policies in Indonesia’s agricultural sector. We pose questions regarding the beneficiaries of this transformation, and what practices and outcomes are facilitated by digital marketing tools (Agritech). Drawing on prior and current research, we outline how discourses surrounding youth farming allocate responsibility and entrepreneurial capabilities to individual farmers, and open discussion about alternative pathways for inclusive digital transformation in rural Southeast Asia.

Traditional Open Panel P210
Digital technologies in food and agriculture: merging STS with Critical Agrifood Studies
  Session 2