Background – Unlike some its neighbouring states, Indonesia is only slowly recovering from the effects of the Asian crisis in the year 2000. The lack of legal security, widespread corruption and a weak banking system all impede investment. Because of increasing unemployment and reduced self-sufficiency in agriculture, problems of poverty continue to grow, particularly in the weaker economic regions such as the Province of Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT). Small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) form an important pillar of the Indonesian economy. They provide employment for more than 80% of those in work. The key to reducing poverty and promoting economic growth lies in reinforcing these local producers, who have almost no access to market information and who often lack the necessary know-how.
Project – The aim is to make better use of the great unexploited potential in agricultural production, which employs roughly 75% of the workforce in Flores. By aiding development of the local economy in one of the poorest provinces in Indonesia, a sustained contribution is made towards combating poverty, maintaining jobs, securing income and opening up potential new employment. Improving access to market information, qualified training and consultancy offers, and financial services all serve to promote small and medium sized enterprises and farmers. These actions mainly reinforce existing organisations and institutions in all sectors, and help the development of concrete offers tailored to local requirements. The current core of the project is the development of production, processing and export of cashew nuts. In July 2005 four groups of cashew nut farmers received the distinction of being xorganic producersx from the Swiss Certification Institution, the IMO. The IMO works with the tried and tested ICS (Internal Control System), which builds on the internal group organisation, administration and monitoring of the certification process. This keeps control costs down and allows the farmers to finance the certification themselves, thereby guaranteeing sustained production. This means that, for the first time in Indonesia, the producers have become the direct owners of the certificate. In addition to this, the ICS-control system was implemented in a record time of eight months, which in turn motivates other farmers to introduce this same process. Roughly half of the people benefiting from the various measures are women.