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Turning Indonesia Organic: Insights from Transdisciplinary Research on the Challenges of a Societal Transformation

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  • Manuela Fritz

    (School of Business, Economics and Information Systems, University of Passau, 94032 Passau, Germany
    Department of Economics, Econometrics and Finance, Faculty of Economics and Business, University of Groningen, 9747 AE Groningen, The Netherlands)

  • Michael Grimm

    (School of Business, Economics and Information Systems, University of Passau, 94032 Passau, Germany
    RWI Research Network, 45128 Essen, Germany
    IZA Bonn, 53113 Bonn, Germany)

  • Patrick Keilbart

    (Department of Southeast Asian Studies, Institute of East Asian Philology, Goethe University Frankfurt, 60325 Frankfurt/M, Germany)

  • Dimas Dwi Laksmana

    (Faculty of Humanities, University of Passau, 94032 Passau, Germany)

  • Nathalie Luck

    (School of Business, Economics and Information Systems, University of Passau, 94032 Passau, Germany)

  • Martina Padmanabhan

    (Faculty of Humanities, University of Passau, 94032 Passau, Germany)

  • Nurcahyaningtyas Subandi

    (Department of Development Economics, Universitas Atma Jaya Yogyakarta, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta 55281, Indonesia)

  • Kristian Tamtomo

    (Department of Sociology, Universitas Atma Jaya Yogyakarta, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta 55281, Indonesia)

Abstract

While there is a global consensus that agricultural systems need to be transformed to be more sustainable, possible pathways and challenges to this process are still debated. We analyse the challenges and opportunities involved in transforming smallholder farming to organic agriculture in Indonesia, where the intense application of Green Revolution technologies came at enormous environmental costs. We adopt a transdisciplinary approach to identify possible pathways towards organic agriculture, based on an analysis of farmers’ knowledge and barriers to adoption, value and belief systems, and institutional structures, including policies and regulations. We present our empirical findings as ‘system knowledge’, ‘target knowledge’ and ‘transformation knowledge’ and incorporate insights from both academics and practitioners. We draw on evidence from large-scale surveys, field experiments, in-depth interviews, participant observation and document analysis. A key insight of our research is that Indonesia does not lack initiatives towards organic farming, but that these various initiatives have different motivations, goals and strategies. This misalignment detracts from the transformational potential of organic agriculture and is responsible for the hitherto limited success of the organic transition. Our findings suggest that policy action at multiple levels is required, guided by an inclusive strategy that is drawn up in a participatory manner.

Suggested Citation

  • Manuela Fritz & Michael Grimm & Patrick Keilbart & Dimas Dwi Laksmana & Nathalie Luck & Martina Padmanabhan & Nurcahyaningtyas Subandi & Kristian Tamtomo, 2021. "Turning Indonesia Organic: Insights from Transdisciplinary Research on the Challenges of a Societal Transformation," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(23), pages 1-20, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:13:y:2021:i:23:p:13011-:d:686831
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    References listed on IDEAS

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