The size of the world’s largest archipelagic nation is also reflected in the number of ethnic groups (1,300) and local languages (746). With a population growth rate of 1.7%, food security and agricultural development are some of the country's main concerns. In Indonesia, ICCO Cooperation focuses its work on food security, responsible business and inclusive markets.

Regional Office South East Asia

  • Jl. Tukad Batang Hari IX no.8
    Panjer - Denpasar 80225

  • +62 361 895 58 01
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  • 257 million people
  • 1,300 ethnic groups
  • 11% of the people live below the poverty line

General Information

Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelagic nation comprising around 17,500 islands of which 6,000 are inhabited. With a population of around 257 million people, Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world. The size of the country is also reflected in the number of ethnic groups (1,300) and the number of local languages (746). In order to unify this diversity, the official language (Bahasa Indonesia) is taught in school and spoken by most Indonesians.

The highest population density can be found in Java. Moreover, Javanese are the biggest ethnic group in Indonesia (45%), followed by Sundanese (14%), Madurese (7,5%), Malay (7.5%), and others (26%; Chinese, Indians, Europeans). The majority of inhabitants are Muslim (87%), but also Protestant (7%), Roman Catholic (3%), Hindu (2%), Buddhist (1%) and Confucians.

Indonesia is the largest economy in Southeast Asia, the tenth largest in the world as measured by purchasing power parity, and the only Southeast Asian member of the G-20. With a GDP per capita of US$3,510, Indonesia has emerged over the last decade as a vibrant middle-income economy with growing regional and global influence. The steadily growing economy of Indonesia has led to a growing middle class and agradual reduction of poverty in the country. The poverty rate fell from 17% in 2004 to 11% in 2014. However, nearly 40% of the Indonesians still live just above the national poverty line and have a vulnerable position.

One characteristic of Indonesian poverty is that there is a major difference in terms of relative and absolute poverty in relation to geographical location. While in absolute terms almost 60% of the total Indonesian poor population lives on the islands of Java and Bali (located in the more populous western half of Indonesia), in relative terms the provinces of eastern Indonesia show far higher numbers of poverty. All these provinces are located outside the more developed western-located islands of Java, Sumatra and Bali. Another characteristic of Indonesian poverty is that, with the exception of a few provinces, the rural populations of Indonesia are relatively poorer than the urban ones. Around half of the Indonesian population lives in rural areas.

Farm laborers especially tend to be more vulnerable and poor as they depend on other people’s land and agricultural activities, and are smallholders with small plots (less than 0.5 ha). They don’t benefit from the country’s fertile soil, rich (tropical) biodiversity and production of high value products like spices, nutmeg, cloves, coffee and cocoa. The challenges they face are related to small land size, agricultural infrastructure and access to technology and information on Good Agricultural Practices. They also face difficulties in financial and market access. Similar challenges apply for the fisheries sector. Around 8 million small-scale Indonesian fishermen account for 92% of the overall fish production. ICCO identifies agriculture and fishery as important sectors for Indonesia.

Themes in Indonesia

The programs of ICCO Cooperation South East Asia connect and strengthen the interface between our two core principles: Securing Sustainable Livelihoods and Justice & Dignity for All. Together with our partners, ICCO Cooperation’s key intervention strategies in South East Asia focus on responsible business, inclusive markets and sustainable food security & production, all with the aim to make sure that poor and marginalized men and women can lead secure, sustainable, just and dignified lives.

In Indonesia, the work of ICCO focuses all themes: food security and production, responsible business, and inclusive markets. We work in the agriculture, forestry and fish sector, with cross-cutting focus on food security, rural communities and gender.

Expertise in Indonesia

ICCO Cooperation has been working in Indonesia since the 1970s. We started our support with humanitarian and charity activities. In the 1980s and 1990s we changed our focus to peace, democratization and access to basic services. This program has made significant contributions in the empowerment of poor people.

The aim of our current program in Indonesia is to empower ethnic minorities and marginalized rural people to (maintain) access to and control over natural resources and to connect them, and small and medium businesses (SMEs), to inclusive value chains. Together with the private sector, governmental and financial institutions, civil society organizations and other partners, we make existing value chains more sustainable and inclusive. We strengthen sustainable entrepreneurship, facilitate process and product innovations and we improve the access of small producers to financial services.

In Indonesia, ICCO Cooperation South East Asia makes use of the following interlinked approaches and models:

Markets for the Poor (M4P)

The M4P approach aims to transform market structures by increasing the participation of the poor, and to make the market more beneficial and sustainable for them.

Value Chain Development (VCD)

We focus on empowering small producers and marginalized groups by connecting them to viable and sustainable value chains and its actors, to generate income and improve food security.

Public-Private Partnerships (PPP)

Our emphasis has always been on partnerships and cooperation. The PPP-model connects the resources and expertise of various sectors (governments, companies, knowledge institutes, ngo’s) when implementing entrepreneurial programs to eradicate poverty.

Business Incubation & Impact Investment

Through our investments programs, ICCO contributes to fair economic development in emerging economies. ICCO provides conditional capital (such as loans, equity and guarantees), by ‘blending’ financial instruments. Our Business Incubator Program (AgriBusiness Booster) provides capacity and capital to small and medium enterprises and farmer cooperatives, for them to grow and develop into strong and independent enterprises.

Business & Human Rights (BHR)

We work with local communities, private sector actors and governments to achieve a world where the private sector operationalizes its role as an important partner for development. We see the United Nations Guiding Principles (UNGPs) as an important guideline and framework for private sector sustainability.

Local partners in Indonesia

In Indonesia we can't do our work without our local partners.

We work together with the following local partners:


Program Flyers Indonesia

ASBALR-PACT: advancing sustainable business and ancestral land recognition, towards peaceful arbitration in communal territories

The program empowers indigenous and forest dependent communities (55,329 people in 40 communities) in the Riau Province, Indonesia, to protect their communal and cultural rights through peaceful dialogues and negotiations between communities, public authorities, and private sector. At the same time, the program encourages business practices with respect for human rights.

open the flyer

High Premium Rice: production and marketing of high premium rice

This partnership will motivate, train and coach 10,000 farmers in Central Java to improve the production and marketing of high premium rice, using certified seeds and organic fertilizers and pesticides.

open the flyer

Nutmeg: empowering smallholders for organic nutmeg

Spicing up the North Moluccan organic and aflatoxin free nutmeg sector by capacitating farmers in organic nutmeg production and including them in the (international) value chain. At the same time, the community development program works on intercultural dialogues to improve social and economic relations in the program area.

open the flyer

Human Rights and Business Flyers

Human Rights & Business: sustainable social impact

The public and private sector play an essential role in contributing to sustainable development that includes human rights. ICCO cooperates with different sectors to work together towards ;sustainable business in which human rights are respected and protected. Through our Sustainable Social Impact Programme, based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business Human Rights (Protect, Respect, Remedy framework), ICCO Cooperation aims to create an enabling environment for companies to work with communities and remediate confl icts. We also encourage governments to improve and align policies for a world in which human rights are Protected.

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Our projects in Indonesia