Promoting the Participation of Women-Led Food MSMEs in the Public Food Procurement of Surakarta City

Climate Justice

Promoting the Participation of Women-Led Food MSMEs in the Public Food Procurement of Surakarta City

Humanis Foundation

Surakarta City in Central Java Province is a fertile ground for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). According to the data from the National Statistics Agency (BPS), there are a total of 6,200 MSMEs in the processing sector across Surakarta’s districts in 2016. As many as 1,391 of them are in the food production business and are predominantly (83 per cent) women led.

As one of the customers of food products, the government is always looking for vendors that can offer meals of the best quality. However, complicated procurement platforms and processes often prevent small vendors, especially local women-led food MSMEs, from effectively bidding for a contract opportunity. This is detrimental for the government as well, as it loses the chance to empower local businesses and, thereby, drive quality improvement.

Hivos believes that increasing the participation of women-led MSMEs in public food procurement projects is one way to improve their welfare. Hivos recognizes the importance of synergizing sustainable community driven, cottage food production with transparent open contracting processes in public procurement. Hivos also intends to learn how open contracting can be leveraged so that more food MSMEs in Surakarta can be involved in the public procurement system.

To address the above, Hivos’ Open Contracting Program and Sustainable Consumption for All Program collaborate with the Association of Women and Micro and Small Business Assistance (ASPPUK) to conduct a scoping study. The study aims to review the policies relevant to MSMEs, especially women-led food MSMEs, and public procurement. Hivos also identifies strengths, access, and opportunities available to women-led food MSMEs to access the public procurement system as well as the challenges that are unique to this group.

The study generates several key findings, including that the right of MSMEs to participate in the public procurement system is assured in national regulations and bylaws. Budget-wise, food and beverages are appropriated in Surakarta’s regional budget, amounting to IDR 31 billion in 2019.

Despite regulatory and budget certainty, some constraints remain. Internally, these women-led MSMEs lack the capacity to develop business resiliency and continuity and are not familiar with digital platforms as a means of market expansion. In addition, there is an issue of overlap in MSME databases and training programs managed by Semarang City.

Read more about the scoping study and the recommendations from Hivos to relevant stakeholders in order to increase the participation of Surakarta’s women-led food MSMEs in the public procurement system.  Click the link below to download “Promoting the Participation of Women-Led Food MSMEs in the Public Food Procurement of Surakarta City”.