Market Opportunities and Competitiveness of Horticultural Products Amid the Covid-19 Turbulence

IPB University Business School (SB-IPB) held a CEO Talks and Leadership Forum with the theme “Market Opportunities and Competitiveness of Horticultural Products in the Middle of the Covid-19 Turbulence” with a practitioner and professional resource person, Sandi Octa Susila. Sandi is the CEO of PT Sinergi Tani Indonesia, the Ambassador of Millennial Agriculture of the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Head of Farmer Mitra Tani Parahyangan which consists of 385 farmers.

The CEO Talk was held virtually through the Zoom Meeting on September 24, 2020, and is mandatory for students of the Batch 55 Bachelor of Business Study Program. At the beginning of the presentation, a video was shown regarding the personal profile and business profile of the speaker. Sandi has been in the agricultural business since 2014 when he was a 5th-semester student. The business started with a focus on Horeka (Hotel, Restaurant, Catering) and retail. Currently, Sandi’s business is not only in horticultural supply but also in several business lines such as agro-tourism, MTP mini-market, increasing N-user clients, and plans to make smart farming.

According to him, “Farmers are cool”. The farmer is not just a hoe, going into the garden, but more than that. Sandi sparked enthusiasm by providing motivation to maximize the knowledge that we are currently working on so that when he goes directly to the community, he can combine empirical and theoretical knowledge.

According to Sandi, business is based on science, innovation, strategy, strong will, information, and technology, and is sociable. Don’t just wait, but we have to be able to step up, we must extraordinary think and act no box or there are no limits, and immediately move out of our comfort zone. Sandi also provides tips and tricks, namely speak according to your ability: when talking to farmers, the diction is better adjusted, such as avoiding hybrid, disruptive and other languages ​​that are not understood by farmers.

One way to stay afloat in the present is an emergency exit strategy, which is a strategy when facing unexpected conditions. Mitra Tani Parahyangan also collaborates with a vegetable shop. In today’s era, we cannot stand alone but must work together with each other. In addition, technology and digitization are important factors so that businesses in agriculture can compete. The agricultural business will never die, a sector that has benefits. In doing something the most important thing is integrity and credibility. When we want to work in a field we must know the “battlefield”, quality, quantity, continuity, and legality.

The hope is that the holding of the CEO Talk can provide inspiration and motivation to the community, especially students and the SB-IPB community in running a business based on empirical experiences sourced from practitioners.