Farmers Gain Profits from Herbal Plants and Digital Applications
Herbal plants such as ginger, turmeric, ginger are selling well during the corona pandemic. Agricultural startups such as Tanihub, Sayurbox, and Tukangsayur.co also recorded an increase in demand for herbal plants, as well as farmers’ income.
TaniSupply Head of Trade Procurement Abednego Gunawan said, sales of herbal plants at TaniHub increased during the Covid-19 pandemic. “It reaches 300 times, compared to before,” he told Katadata.co.id, Thursday (10/9).
VP of Corporate Services of TaniHub Group Astri Purnamasari added, overall product sales to end consumers, such as housewives, increased fivefold. “Mainly contributed by herbal plants, groceries, and frozen food,” he said.
Consumers hunt for products that are considered to increase endurance, such as spices. The main increase in demand occurred when the coronavirus first appeared in Indonesia. However, the increasing demand for herbal plants began to decline, as the effect of “panic buying” subsided.
Even so, Astri considered that the prospect of farmers to gain profit by entering startups was still very large. The Tanihub Group has attracted around 35 thousand farmers. Especially for herbal plants, the company gets supplies from various regions such as Lampung, Ponorogo, and West Java.
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Astri claims that the farmer partners’ income increased by 50% after joining, while their productivity increased by 30%. Whereas on the Sayurbox platform, sales of herbal plants increased by 10 times when corona first appeared in the country.
Now, the increase is about threefold. “It’s stable at this figure,” said Head of Communications Sayurbox Oshin Hernis. Types of herbal plants that consumers are interested in are ginger, turmeric, and galangal.
Currently, Sayurbox is attracting around 1,000 farmers. Meanwhile, more herbal plants are obtained from partners from Jakarta, Bali and Surabaya. Just like Tanihub, Oshin is optimistic that herbal plants will remain in demand even after the pandemic is over. The reason is that consumers have become accustomed to taking care of their health by consuming immune-enhancing products.
Increased demand for herbal plants also occurred on the Tukangsayur.co platform. The most popular products are red ginger, cinnamon, ginger, spices. “It increased six to seven times when the coronavirus started. Currently, it tends to decline,” said Co-founder and COO of Tukangsayur.co, Endang Ahmad.
A surge in demand has also occurred on e-commerce platforms, such as Tokopedia. One of the country’s unicorns recorded sales of 60 tons of ginger in a month, when Covid-19 first appeared. The Ministry of Agriculture and local governments also encourage farmers to market their crops through digital platforms during the pandemic.
Marketing of Agricultural Products through Digital Services Increased by 300%
The ministry noted that the marketing of horticultural products to the household segment through digital services increased by more than 300% during this period. The high demand even comes not only from within the country, but also from other countries. India and Malaysia are the main export destinations for ginger, turmeric and ginger.
Nearly 75% of the total export volume of spices was sent to the two countries in 2018. The increase in demand has a positive impact on farmers’ income. The Mekar Wangi Women Farmers Group in Dataran Kempas Village, Jambi, for example, recorded an increase in production from 150-200 kilograms to 350 kilograms per month due to the corona pandemic.
The farmer group assisted by Asia Pulp & Paper Sinar Mas also processes herbal plants into powder, as well as ginger-based foods and drinks. This product has been distributed to several districts in Jambi, South Sumatra, Riau and Jakarta. The distribution is through direct, online and minimarket orders.
“Since the pandemic, many people are looking for ginger. Our income has also increased by 50%,” said the head of the Mekar Wangi Women’s Farmer Group, Rita Ayuwandari, quoted in a press release, last May (13/5). To meet market demand, some farmers in the Kempas Plain have switched from planting oil palm to ginger.