Emily Sutanto is the gorgeous and driven social entrepreneur behind the social enterprise Bloom Agro, Indonesia’s first organic and fair trade rice producer and exporter. Driven by her passion to create a better world through sustainable agriculture, she founded her company in 2009. Two years later, she began exporting her Sunria brand to Germany, Malaysia, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates and the United States.
“It started when a family friend told me about a group of organic rice farmers in Tasikmalaya, West Java,” recalls this holder of Master’s in International Management and Master’s of Arts in Mass Communication from Bond University in Australia. “They were producing good-quality rice using SRI (System of Rice Intensification) methods. But they were struggling with bureaucracy and being exploited by loan sharks. I organised and train the rice farmers until they achieved international organic and fair trade certification. Together, we have revolutionised the rice production chain through empowerment. Farmers are no longer undervalued raw materials suppliers. They are producers of high-quality finished products.”
Now, Emily not only helping organic rice farmers but sugar, salt and vegetable small-scale farmers as well. In spite of the breakthrough she has achieved for farmers, Emily has not yet considered herself to be a successful social entrepreneur. “I still feel a burning desire to help many more people,” she says. “It makes me think that giving is indeed better than receiving, and that determination is the key. I have started helping more smallscale farmers. We now organised around 1,000 farmers and I’ve learned a lot from them. I think the true meaning of success is when you’re not only achieving what you set to achieve, but you can help others to achieve their dreams as well.”