Sustainable rice

Promoting sustainable and inclusive rice value chain in Indonesia

May 10, 2024

More than 93% of families in Indonesia consume rice daily and the average Indonesian consumes about 114kg of rice a year. It’s also a crucial part of Indonesia’s economy, but farmers have been using chemical fertilisers for years and rely on subsidized fertilisers from the government. As a mission to reduce environmental impact through rice cultivation, Rikolto introduces farmers to more eco-friendly cultivation methods.

Icon Place



Boyolali District, Central Java province

Icon Scope


Ensuring that the rice production benefits both farmers economically, as well as the environment, and that farmers meet the Sustainable Rice Platform Standard.

Icon Duration




Board members of APOB
  • Regeneration of future farmers. Indonesian rice farmers are ageing. The involvement of young generation in the agricultural sector is declining due to limited farmland and because it is perceived to have little (financial) reward.
  • Gender gap. Women make essential contributions to rice farming. However, they have limited decision-making capacity within the household or the farmers' organisation. Most of the cultivation process, from planting to harvesting, is done by women, while men take the decisions for selecting what rice varieties to plant and harvest.

  • Climate change. The quantity and quality of rice are negatively impacted by climate change. Droughts have in the past years led to a lack of water and reduced production, and unexpected heavy rainfall affects the rice's quality. Climate change also increases the loss caused by pests and diseases.
Rice cluster local partner meeting

Our strategies

  • Rikolto facilitates trainings on Internal Control Systems to the farmer organisations’ boards and organises capacity building for members of the organisations.
  • We support the rice farmer organisations in local rice seed breeding according to market requirements and in the production of organic fertilisers. These local seeds and organic fertilisers are sold at discount prices to members, and at market-rate prices to other rice farmers.
  • Rikolto further introduces the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) model to the organisations and their farmer members, to deal with continued droughts. SRI is an organic system which implies giving rice plants more space to grow, which reduces water usage by 50% and produces drastic increases in rice production.
  • Rikolto facilitates trainings on bookkeeping of stocks, milling, processing and warehousing for premium-quality rice.
  • We enable rice farmer organisations to manage their businesses professionally and sustainably. This means, amongst other things:
  1. Supporting farmers to apply sustainable agricultural practices. There are currently more than 600 organic rice farmers as members of APOB and KOPAPPOLI.
  2. Supporting farmers to create more space for engagement of women and youth, through internal policies promoting their participation and through popular events such as summer camps for the district’s youngsters;
  3. Providing training on (online) marketing of their rice, business and organisational management, network and decision making;
  4. Organising capacity building activities on access to finance and supporting the development of business plans to meet the requirements of financial service providers;
  5. Facilitating dialogues and linkages between the rice producer organisations and buyers, both nationally and internationally, to develop business opportunities that benefit small-scale farmers.
No items found.


Farmers organisations have become more advanced in doing their businesses through creative marketing methods. Therefore farmers organisations can absorb their members' products to the fullest. The growing business also is shown to attract non-member farmers to get involved in the organisations, as well as lures young people and women to participate in the business and capacity-building activities.

Youth as an essential part of the rice programme has been receiving various training from rice cultivation to marketing. From some discussions conducted with young people, they shared positive experience after attending the organic youth camp. The youth camp aims to introduce sustainable agriculture system and agribusiness to young people.

Boyolali Organic Rice Association (APOB)

  • APOB succeeded in getting government assistance in the form of rice mill unit in March 2019. This facility has improved APOB's business considerably. The ownership of a rice-milling unit helps APOB in full control of stock management, product development, and anticipating market needs. Rikolto facilitated APOB's access support program from the Ministry.
  • In addition to having certified organic rice, APOB also sells healthy rice purchased from members who are already involved in the Internal Control System (ICS) unit. APOB recorded increased quality rice sales from 81.83 tons (2018) to 128.33 tons (2019) after activating the RMU.

Alliance of Boyolali Organic Rice Farmers (KOPAPPOLI)

  • KOPAPPOLI has a broad domestic organic rice market. Buyers believe in KOPAPPOLI because it commits to producing good quality rice and timely delivery. KOPAPPOLI is also a member of the Farmers Economy Institution formed by the Boyolali District Agriculture Agency.
  • In 2018, KOPAPPOLI successfully exported directly to Australia thanks to the KOPAPPOLI's close relationship with an Australian buyer.
  • Due to a solid ICS owned by this organisation, KEHATI-a national NGO in Jakarta-contracted KOPAPPOLI to support setting up certification system, including ICS, for farmers in Sangihe Talaud in North Sulawesi Province.
  • In addition to increasing their on-farm capacity, women also received capacity building in micro-business management. KOPAPPOLI established a business unit of rice cracker production by utilising damaged rice that is not sold by the organisation.


In 2020, around 2,684 farmers received benefits from our interventions. We work together with two associations: Boyolali Organic Rice Association (APOB) and Alliance of Boyolali Organic Rice Farmers (KOPAPPOLI).

Boyolali Organic Rice Association (APOB)

Alliance of Boyolali Organic Rice Farmers (KOPAPPOLI)

Certified Farmers

Who do we work with?



Nana Suhartana

Rice Sector Manager

Stories from the ground

Discover more stories