Speaking to Muhammad Nanda Putra is like speaking to an embodiment of how far childhood dream and passion can bring you to. Sharing with us about Tanijoy, Nanda has a quite unique start in the industry and we all can learn something from it.
Faces of SMEs (F): What was the inspiration and motivation behind Tanijoy (CBN ID000009966)?
Nanda (N): You know, when I was a kid, other children my age always said things like doctor, pilot, teachers and other generic professions when they were asked what they want to be when they grow up. I was different. I distinctively remembered answering “a farm engineer” when I was asked the same question. I have no idea where I got such idea, but it would probably have to do with my Grandma, who loved to bring me out to her orchard. Since then, I have always been fascinated by farming world.
I started a coffee plantation in Bogor, near Cianjur since 2012, and I had a lot of interaction with the locals. I learned how they live their village life, and I began to see a problem.
Most of them are farmers not because they want to, but because they have to
Most of the farmers have to deal with land scarcity and capital problem. They end up loaning a sum of money from loan shark with large interests. These loan sharks force them to sell their farm produces at their given price, causing the farms to lose profits and get buried in a pile of debts. They know how this arrangement kills them, but they don’t know how to get out of it because loaning from banks means they have to submit a collateral.
F: So where does Tanijoy play part in this whole situation?
N: Tanijoy offers a solution, by helping farmers directly market their produces to stores and local markets, as well as helping them getting the capital and partnering with the third party to provide farming land.
F: It sounds really awesome and noble what the company is doing. But just like other business, there must be challenges doing the system. What are those challenges?
N: This business, in particular, has a lot of risks and uncertainties, mainly coming from nature itself and the human working with us. We can never predict nature, and to tackle this issue, there has to be a better risk management.
On the other hand, it is also hard to maintain trust from both farmers and the financiers. Given this situation, we have our Field Managers whose main duty is monitoring farmers and reporting their progress to the financiers and land owners through our website.
F: In the years of building Tanijoy, what was the most impressive and memorable experience you have encountered?
N: Before building the business and developing the online platform, I have started doing this offline by playing as a middleman. I will get in touch with people looking to invest and directly deal with the farmers with a profit-sharing system. But I made a mistake, I trusted the farmer I worked with at that time way too much and I only visited him once every two months.
When it’s time to harvest the produces, the farmer told me that almost all of his produces are not in its most excellent condition to be sold. When we investigated, there had been produced that was left out on purpose by the farmer, and our financiers found out. That’s when I learned to develop a better system by delegating Field Manager to monitor farmers in some areas and report it back using Tanijoy’s dashboard.
F: Seeing that you’re so passionate about bettering the lives of Indonesian farmers, what cause that you hold close to your heart?
N: Definitely poverty. The lack of education can cause hunger and poverty, and the social inequality everywhere singles out farmers. The statistic shows that farmers make up 30% of our labor forces, and farmers are the foundation of food availability in our country.
Still, many people think that farmers are a poor man’s job and don’t see it as a prestigious career. I strive to raise farmers’ living standard and prove that our farmers can be modern and high-tech.
F: Wow, thank you so much for sharing such an insightful story, Mr. Nanda. We would like to get to know you better as well. What is your hobby?
N: Oh, I love to read books and just hang out with my family, visiting new places together.
CBN – ID000009966
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