Lintang Kusuma Pratiwi is the co-founder and Chief Agriculture Officer of Elevarm, an ‘agritech’ businesses focuses on building more sustainable agriculture practices in Indonesia and beyond.
What inspired you to enter into the AgTech sector?
I have always had a deep appreciation for the importance of agriculture in our society. However, as I progressed in my studies, I became increasingly interested in the intersection of agriculture and technology. I saw the potential for digital technologies and innovation to revolutionize the industry and create a more sustainable future. This inspired me to pursue a career in AgTech, and to work towards developing solutions that can help to address some of the biggest challenges facing agriculture today.
If you could describe yourself in 3 words, what would they be?
Resilient, passionate, and driven. As a woman entrepreneur in a male-dominated industry, these qualities have been essential to me. They have enabled me to overcome challenges, navigate complex environments, and pursue my vision for a more sustainable and equitable agriculture sector.
This year's theme is “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”. In your opinion, how can digital technology and innovation particularly in the agriculture sector deliver greater gender equality?
Digital technology and innovation can play a significant role in promoting gender equality in the agriculture sector. By providing access to information, training, and resources, women can gain the skills and knowledge needed to participate in all aspects of the industry. Furthermore, digital platforms can help to connect women farmers with markets, buyers, financial services, advisory, and technologies, enabling them to increase their incomes and improve their livelihoods. This can help to break down the barriers that have traditionally prevented women from fully participating in the agriculture sector and promote greater gender equality.
What does your work as Co-Founder of Elevarm mean to you?
As a Co-Founder of Elevarm, my work is deeply meaningful to me. I am proud to be leading a team that is developing innovative solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing agriculture today. Our work at Elevarm has the potential to make a significant impact on the industry, and I am motivated every day by the opportunity to create positive change. I am particularly proud of our work in developing technologies that can help to promote sustainability and social justice in agriculture, and I am excited to continue to push the boundaries of what is possible in this field.
As one of the fastest growing AgTech Startups in Indonesia, Elevarm has impacted the livelihoods of thousands of farmers, and it is just the beginning. I am very excited about the potential impact that we can bring to this sector.
How have you seen issues of gender equality evolve throughout your career?
I have seen significant progress in recent years in terms of promoting gender equality in the workplace. However, there is still a long way to go, particularly in industries like agriculture that have traditionally been male-dominated.
[Yet] I am encouraged by the growing recognition of the importance of diversity and inclusion, and I believe that continued efforts to promote gender equality will lead to a more equitable and just society. As a woman entrepreneur in AgTech, I am committed to using my platform to help promote gender equality and create opportunities for women in this field.
What are some of the challenges you face as a leader, and how do you learn from it?
As a leader, I face many challenges, including managing a team, making difficult decisions, and navigating complex and multidimensional environments. However, I see these challenges as opportunities for growth and learning. I strive to remain open-minded and receptive to feedback and to continuously seek out new knowledge and perspectives that can help me to become a better leader. I am also committed to promoting a culture of inclusivity and diversity within my organization, and I believe that this can help to create a more innovative and dynamic workplace.
What are the key ingredients to succeeding in your profession?
In my experience, the key ingredients to succeeding in the AgTech sector are a passion for innovation, a deep understanding of the agriculture industry, and a willingness to take risks and learn from failure.
It’s also essential to build a strong network of mentors, advisors, and collaborators who can provide guidance and support. As a woman entrepreneur in AgTech, I have found that it is particularly important to be persistent and to have a clear vision for what I want to achieve. This can help to overcome the many obstacles and challenges that can arise in this field.
What are some of your favorite projects/memorable mentors you've worked with in your career and why?
One of my favorite projects was developing a mobile app that provided farmers with real-time weather information, disease detection through AI, and crop management advice called Dokter Tania - one of Elevarm’s products. This project was particularly meaningful to me because it directly impacted the lives of farmers and helped to improve their yields and incomes.
In terms of mentors, I have been fortunate to work with many inspiring and supportive individuals throughout my career, including a former Director at Temasek, SVP at Olam, and many global companies as well as a former professor who encouraged me to pursue my passion for AgTech and provided invaluable guidance and support. I have also been inspired by the many women entrepreneurs and leaders in this field who are breaking down barriers and paving the way for a more inclusive and equitable agriculture sector.
What do you think needs to be done to ensure more women end up in leadership positions in Indonesia?
To ensure more women end up in leadership positions in Indonesia, there needs to be a concerted effort to promote gender equality at all levels of society. This includes providing access to education and training, challenging gender stereotypes and biases, and creating policies and programs that support women's career advancement. It is also essential to provide women with role models and mentors who can inspire and guide them in their careers. As a woman entrepreneur in AgTech, I am committed to using my platform to promote gender equality and create opportunities for women in this field.
What advice would you have for women in Indonesia who are still studying or early in their careers, also to those who aspire to join the agriculture sector?
My advice to women in Indonesia who are still studying or early in their careers is to remain passionate and curious about the world around them. Seek out opportunities to learn and grow, even if they are outside of your comfort zone. Don't be afraid to take risks and pursue your dreams, even if they seem daunting or impossible.
Finally, surround yourself with a supportive network of mentors, colleagues, and friends who will encourage and inspire you along the way. Remember, with hard work, determination, and a willingness to learn, anything is possible. It is possible to break down barriers and achieve success in any field, and I hope to inspire and empower other women to do the same.
**The views expressed in this interview do not necessarily represent the views of the World Bank Group.
The World Bank is supporting the Government of Indonesia to develop models in sustainable and inclusive agriculture value chains through the Agriculture Value Chain Development (ICARE) project. It aims to provide integrated and site-specific support for the development of viable value chain models to help farmers adapt to changing climate and to reduce the carbon footprint of the selected value chains.
It is also designed to strengthen public and private sector institutional capacity to promote climate-smart agriculture and value chains in the targeted project locations. A strong learning and knowledge management component will ensure that successful models supported by the project are well-documented to foster replication and scaling up.