Farmers, Land Rights and Fulfillment of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Notes from the 2021 STKS Congress

Palombuan-Samosir, Friday, February 19, 2021, Samosir Regency Farmers Union (STKS), held its 7th Congress in Pallombuan Samosir Village. The congress was attended by 85 participants from 13 Farmer Groups who are members of the STKS. Apart from the inauguration of the new management for 2021-2023, a discussion with the theme of “Land Rights and Increasing Budget Allocation for the Agricultural Sector” was also held.

The initiators of the discussion were Mr. Jabendeus Banjar Nahor, Head of Plantation representing the Head of the Samosir Regency Agriculture Service, Esbon Siringo-ringo (Chairman of STKS) and Delima Silalahi (KSPPM).

This congress was opened with a service led by Praeses HKBP District VII Samosir, Pdt. Rein Justin Gultom. In his reflection Pdt. Reinjustin said that Indonesia is an agricultural country, but there are many important accesses that are not obtained by farmers, such as access to education, health and politics. Whereas in Article 33 paragraph 3 of the 1945 Constitution it is stated that natural resources are used maximally for the prosperity of the people.

Esbon Sirongoringo explained the efforts made by the Farmers Union so far in an effort to fulfill the economic, social and cultural (eco-cultural) rights of farmers in Samosir Regency, especially those who are members of the STKS. According to him, currently there are many problems faced by farmers, especially since the Covid 19 pandemic. Starting from the problem of land, decreased production, falling market prices, inadequate agricultural facilities and infrastructure in Samosir, the impact of climate change, and also problems. other. Of course this problem must be resolved jointly by all parties, especially the government. Because the progress of agriculture and the welfare of farmers in Samosir cannot be separated from the existing development policies. He hopes that in the future STKS will be better at fighting for what the farmers in Samosir need.

The same thing was conveyed by Delima Silalahi, Director of the KSPPM Program that land issues are a serious threat that must be addressed together. “Farmers are people who live off the land. Without land there are no farmers. Therefore, access to land ownership and management by farmers and indigenous peoples must be guaranteed by the state, ”said Delima.

The land issue in Samosir and generally the Lake Toba area has become a latent problem that must be seriously addressed. If not, farmers and indigenous peoples will always be threatened on their own land because of various development policies currently projected in the Lake Toba area. Delima explained that 60% of the land area in the Lake Toba area is claimed by the state as forest areas. So that if there is no regional regulation on the recognition and protection of indigenous peoples and their rights to land and natural resources, then at times indigenous peoples will be evicted from their living space.

Delima added that another problem is the need to increase the budget allocation for the agricultural sector. The majority of the population in Samosir are farmers, therefore the government’s attention to the agricultural sector must also be great.

As the trigger for the final discussion, Pak Jabendeus Banjarnahor said that Indonesia is an agricultural country. However, in the determination of the 2020 State Budget, he was very disappointed with the central government because the budget for the Ministry of Agriculture was not included in the top 10. “For this year’s APBN (Annual State Budget), the first rank is the Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing, the second is the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Social Affairs, and the 10th rank is the Ministry of Agriculture,” said Pak Jabendeus.

He admitted that they could not rely solely on the APBD. To support the programs of the Agricultural Service, we need to build a network of cooperation with various parties. “The improvement of the farmer’s economy must be based on groups. We have also fostered several groups such as in the village of Salaon Dolok, we have provided a coffee machine. Then because my field is re-planting coffee, I have programmed the rejuvenation of coffee covering an area of ​​2500 hectares in 2024-2025, but it must be cultivated based on good agriculture practice. So, please coordinate with PPL in each village, ”continued Jabendeus.

The participants were very enthusiastic in providing input and questions. Most of them hope that the Farmers Group who are members of STKS will also get attention from the Samosir Regency Government. Because the farmer groups they are building are not farmer groups that only expect assistance from the government. “We are not a group of pigeons, if there is assistance, they will be in groups. Or join a group just to get subsidized fertilizer. We have a farmer organization that was born from the awareness of the importance of farmer organizations. So far, we regularly hold discussions, agricultural activities in harmony with nature and also build a Credit Union. But we rarely get the attention of the government just because we are not registered, ”said Amang Simbolon from Sijambur.

The 7th Samosir Regency Peasant Union Congress ended with the inauguration of the STKS management. Manalu Dimpos, Administration Board of KSPPM, and Jannes Hutahaean, Members of Internal Audit of KSPPM, also gave motivation and hope to the elected management. ***

By Sandres Siahaan

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