In 2018, Lintang Kusuma Pratiwi set out on an agricultural journey. Working with a friend, they launched Neurafarm, bringing smart farming to Indonesia.
At just 24 years old, Lintang is the co-founder of Neurafarm, a smart farming company that she established with her friend Febi Agil Ifdillah, in her final year of university. With a focus on increasing food security and enabling farmers with innovative digital tools, Neurafarm is an agtech startup that bridges the gap from traditional to modern farming.
An agricultural career inspired by her grandfather
While Lintang is a successful woman agripreneur today, she didn’t always have an extensive agricultural network. “I didn’t come from a village or area that was very focused on agriculture, but I had an innate interest in it as my grandfather was a farmer. No one in my family or circle was involved in agriculture, and my grandfather had passed away when I was very little,” Lintang explains.
While this meant that Lintang needed to start from scratch and learn the tricks of the trade herself, she wasn’t deterred in the slightest. “When I needed to make a decision for university, it was easy for me to decide to study agricultural engineering.”
Juggling university and the launch of a start-up
In her final year at university, Febi approached Lintang and asked her to co-found Neurafarm with him. Balancing work and school was a challenge, especially as Lintang needed to focus on building the foundation of the company while submitting and managing assignments.
It was only in 2018 upon her graduation that Lintang and Febi were able to kick things off with Neurafarm. With farmer welfare and empowerment at the heart of all that they do, they focused on bringing smart faming solutions to farmers in Indonesia by fostering a culture of community-sharing among universities, government institutions and farmers.
Inspiring change isn’t easy…
As an agtech startup trying to inspire change and increase productivity in farms through digital methods, Lintang has had to deal with resistance from farmers who are used to traditional farming methods. “Many of the farmers are often reluctant to deviate from their pre-existing practices, as they have established comfort and trust in their practices over their many years of experience in the fields,” she shares. Lintang says that instilling market education is a priority for Neurafarm. Through demonstrations and teaching, the farmers can witness the impact of modern practices Neurafarm can deliver.
In 2017, while AI was still at a nascent stage, Neurafarm embraced the technology and developed Dr. Tania, a mobile application powered by AI which supports farmers in mitigating the impacts of pests and diseases on farms, which can destroy more than 20% of total potential yield. To date, more than ten thousand farmers are using the application in over 200 cities – making farming efficient, profitable and even more pest resistant.
A parting piece of advice for women in agriculture
“Just do your best. Agriculture on its own has no gender; it is meant for everyone and has so much potential for growth as an industry,” Lintang says. “Everyone in the world needs and relies on the industry for food, so it is an industry that will always thrive. Learn as much as you can, and don’t be afraid to push yourself even if you don’t know much about the industry,” she shares.