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Being a dock worker at the port for many years made Indra Gunawan feel as though he was not progressing in life.

Not only did he rarely meet his family, he also could not improve his family’s welfare.

“I worked as a dock worker for approximately six years, from 2006 until 2012. My income as a dock worker was very small,” Indra said.

It was because of this that Indra decided to change jobs from being a dock worker to a farmer in Kerinci Kanan of the Riau Province in Indonesia.

“The first reason was that I wanted to be closer to my family and also to the community.

“The other reason is that farming is a profession where nobody tells you what to do,” he explained.

Indra sees considerable opportunities in the agricultural industry, especially in horticultural cultivation.

According to him, there are only a few people in his area who work as farmers, making the price of vegetables in his area very high.

“Here, the price of vegetables such as chili is very high so I am happy to harvest chili,” Indra said.

Spurred by confidence, Indra utilized 400m² of land next to his home for the cultivation of various kinds of vegetables, including chili and corn.

The money that Indra gets from farming is much more than what he received as a dock worker.

Some of his neighbors then tried to follow in Indra’s footsteps to switch professions and become farmers. It wasn’t long before they set up a farmers’ group called the Jaya Bersama Farmer Group in 2013.

Since its establishment, the Jaya Bersama Farmer Group has been part of the Integrated Farming System (IFS) program run by the APRIL Group. The IFS program aims to increase the knowledge of farmers about how to manage the land properly. The farmers also gain knowledge in managing integrated agriculture.

The amount of horticulture carried out by the Jaya Bersama Farmer Group has only been growing since then, achieving a crop yield of 1.2 tons per harvesting period.

“In the past, we did not know how to cultivate plants in the right way. After the training, we learned how to maximize our crops,” Indra said.

“APRIL not only provides us with training, but also provides good fertilizers and plant seeds,” he added.

As many as 20 people are now part of the Jaya Bersama Farmer Group, and collectively own various assets such as houses, plantation land and cars.

“The revenue we’re generating is increasing by the day. Some out of the 20 farmers in our group are already buying cars with their farming profits,” he said.

Indra feels very grateful for all the blessings he has received.

For him, farming is not just about the money, but that it’s also allowed him to be closer to his family.

"Alhamdulillah, by working as a farmer, now I can meet my wife and children every day," Indra said.

“My success is my dedication to my family - as long as they are happy," he added.

Indra’s success with the Jaya Bersama Farmer Group is proof that being a farmer can raise one’s prosperity.

 

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