Agriculture on the Colonialism Era

All of us must have known that Indonesia is an agrarian country. That name doesn’t come out of nowhere. If we look further to the past, specifically during the colonial era, agriculture has a lot of influences on the history of Indonesia. Indonesia also improved the agriculture system a lot in that era. So dear readers, get into the time machine and we’re off to Indonesia’s colonialism era!

Attracted Foreigners

If we ask how the colonialism era started, the answer is lying on one of Indonesia’s agricultural commodities, spices. For foreigners, herbs are equal to treasures because they are really valuable and nowhere to be found except in Indonesia ( At first, foreigners, especially Europeans, only went to Indonesia to gain cheaper herbs, but as the time went, they became greedy so they wanted to monopolize and take over Indonesia as their own.

Export and Import

Indonesians used to trade both regionally and internationally in a port city. Foreigners even settled in these port cities to trade with Indonesians more efficiently. This is the evidence that Indonesia was really productive in their trades. But when the Dutch came to Indonesia, VOC (Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie) prohibited trades due to their monopoly. VOC wanted to trade commodities that satisfy international needs. Therefore, the Dutch modernized their plantation and applied the cultuurstelsel system that forced Indonesians to plant export commodities such as coffee, sugarcane, indigo, and tobacco.

What had changed at that time?

Dutch Colonialism Era

Since the early 19th century, the Dutch have been modernizing the plantation system in Indonesia. However, this modernization only benefited the Dutch while Indonesia’s traditional agriculture system was ignored. This created a huge gap between the Dutch and local economy. As a result of that, there was a pressure to do the ethical policy, one of them was educating Indonesian to develop their agriculture system.

Before the ethical policy existed, the Dutch already established Kebun Raya Bogor. It was established as Dr. C.G.L. Reinwardt introduced 50 new agricultural commodities including palm and cassava. This institute was assigned to do practical research, introduce biology and cultivation, and also the utilization so it can be accepted by the society. Kebun Raya Bogor is the pioneer of biology and agriculture research in Indonesia. This institute also helped the Dutch a lot when they applied the cultuurstelsel system. 

In 1910, the Agriculture Counseling Service (Landbouw Voorlichtingsdienst) was established in the Agricultural Department area and in 1921 it became a provincial service due to its effectiveness in increasing agricultural productivity. This service has achieved many outcomes such as the modernization of agriculture based on research, especially on soil management, irrigation, fertilization, usage of superior varieties, and pest-disease management.

Japan Colonialism Era

Japan’s colonial era was different from the Dutch’s. Research was stopped because they were forced to research commodities that support Japan’s war needs such as food (rice and buckwheat), clothing materials (kapuk, cotton, and other fiber plants), and etc. Indonesians also didn’t have time to take care of their own plantation. Farmers were forced to learn Japanese and train everyday. Japanese also abandoned commodities that weren’t beneficial for them.

To increase the supplies of their needs, the Japanese needed to improve Indonesia’s plantation productivity. Their effort for that was introducing new seeds, applying technical innovation, expanding plantation area, giving education, and propaganda. New seeds introduced by the Japanese are cotton, jute, rosella, and castor beans. 


Agriculture is one of the biggest strengths of Indonesia. But if we don’t have the intention to make a change for the better, history could repeat itself. All of us don’t want foreigners to become the ones who change Indonesia again right? So for you, dear readers, I dare you to be brave and take the challenge to develop our agriculture for a better future!

Sources :

Soim A, Warsito, Haryani M, Muttaqien I, Permatasari RB, Cakrabawa DN, Kusmayadi E, Winarko B, Rachmawati N, Mulyana A, Agustin C, Ekasari N. 2019. Sejarah Pertanian Indonesia. Kementrian Pertanian Republik Indonesia Pusat Perpustakaan dan Penyebaran Teknologi Pertanian 2019. Bogor, Indonesia.

August 23, 2021

Agriculture on the Colonialism Era

Agriculture on the Colonialism Era All of us must have known that Indonesia is an agrarian country. That name doesn’t come out of nowhere. If we […]
April 13, 2021

Press Release Ngariung 1 x VCP Product

Hello IAASers! Ngariung 1 x VCP Product was successfully held on Sunday, 4th of April 2021 conducted by offline activity. The event is attended by 10 […]
March 11, 2021


PRESS RELEASE : AGRIRANGER 1 2021 Agriranger 1 was successfully held using the hybrid method which means conducted both online and offline on Saturday, March 6th, […]
November 12, 2020

IHFNM 2020

Press Release Human Resource Department (HRD) IAAS LC IPB has successfully done all the stages of IAAS Hunts For New Member (IHFNM) 2020. IHFNM is an […]
October 29, 2020

Ngariung 2.0 2020

Press Release Village Concept Project is one of the biggest programs in every Local Committee IAAS Indonesia under control of Vice Director of Project and Science […]
September 17, 2020


Press Release The first collaboration program of Exchange Program Department and Project Department IAAS LC IPB, IAAS Conversation Club X Agriranger (ICC X Agriranger), is aiming […]
September 17, 2020

Ngariung 1.0 2020

Press Release Village Concept Project is one of the biggest programs in every Local Committee IAAS Indonesia under control of Vice Director of Project and Science IAAS […]
August 19, 2020

ICC Goes To External 2020

Press Release On August 3rd 2020, Exchange Program Department in collaboration with External Department held IAAS Conversation Club Goes to External (IGTE). This event took place at […]
July 26, 2020

Public Relation Class 2020

Press Release On May 30th 2020, External Department held the second online class called Public Relation Class 2020. This online class used Google Meet as the online platform. Public Relation Class carried out a theme, “Branding […]