In the province of South Sulawesi, Indonesia, about 180 km from the provincial capital, is the regency of Pinrang - one of the pilot regions of the ASIC improvement initiative and home to shrimp cultivation and processing activities. The region offers high-value seafood products like black tiger shrimp (P.Monodon) and white leg shrimp (L.Vannamei) for export and local consumption, providing livelihood opportunities for locals in the region. However, the increasing demand for these products may pose potential risks due to unconscious practices.
Farmers were provided with tools and resources to help improve their livelihoods and provide pathways to access broader markets through a place-based initiative designed to support vulnerable groups and smallholder producers. However, we also strive to share their narratives with the world, amplify their voices, and create an equal and inclusive gender representation in the industry. Here, we discover the stories of three women in Indonesia and their journey as small-scale shrimp producers.

Embracing more women in seafood

While there have been some victories, we continue to confront social struggles that prevent women from fully participating and contributing to broader circles. The work of achieving balance on  social and gender scales is far from over. Unfortunately, many people still fail to recognize the critical role that women play in their communities. In this context, we explore the experience of three Indonesian women who are small-scale shrimp producers and how they responsibly cultivate seafood.

Syahruni: Increasing women's potential in shrimp farming

Syahruni is a seasoned farmer from Cengkong, Pinrang. She runs a polyculture farm of shrimp and milkfish with her family. Through her father being a farmer, she was immersed in farming practices at a young age. Today, she takes on a greater role in managing the farm, from regular water quality checks to organic feeding, ensuring optimal shrimp growth and production.

Given her background and involvement in improvement programs, it has been easier for Syahruni to handle and implement best farming practices into her work.

Hasmia: Promoting Women's Agency

Hasmia is a rural shrimp farmer from Weituwoi, Pinrang, Indonesia. Shortly after her husband passed away, Hasmia moved away from her role as primary household caretaker to running the farm to continue feeding her family and making ends meet.

Hasmia started learning about shrimp farming practices from her husband and has also tapped into the expertise of other farmers in the area. Today, she manages a polyculture farm of shrimp and milkfish in her six-hectare pond, and family members travel to Pinrang to assist her during harvest season.

While Hasmia doesn't consider shrimp farming particularly difficult, she is able to rely upon her neighbours and community groups for support when faced with challenges.

For Hasmia and many others, practical and accessible place-based improvement solutions support farmers like her with sustainable farming practices.

Arni: Unlocking livelihood opportunities

Women in the village of Pinrang are often limited to carrying out all household work for the family. However, in 2016 a cooperative group called "Kelompok Berkah" was established with a mission to unlock opportunities for women within their community. Through the GRAISEA program, workshops on food processing were conducted to help make this cause possible.

Among its members is Arni, a 40-year old producer of abon ikan or fish floss, a traditional Indonesian dish made from mashed salted fish. Together with other farmers' wives, Arni processes milkfish into abon ikan and markets it through social media for buyers.

Arni is hopeful for continuous economic recovery so that the women involved can sell more products and engage in other training activities that will help them transform goods into high-value products.

The future of ASIC work

For Syahruni, Hasmia, Arni, and many others, ASIC offers solutions to support responsible farming and best management practices, promoting equal gender opportunities and creating market opportunities for smallholder producers in Southeast Asia.

Over a thousand men and women shrimp farmers have been provided free access to improvement programs through the ASIC Environmental and Social and Gender Standards. We are proud and committed to continuing this work and inspiring more people to join the cause - today and in the future.
This story was made possible through the support of: