Sajogyo Institute, founded 10 March 2005, seeks to develop knowledge on agrarian and rural reform through research, education, training, and policy advocacy with the goal of building village independence and reaching a critical mass in the agrarian justice movement. The distinctive intellectual legacy of its 4 founders—the late Prof. Sajogyo, the late Prof. Pudjiwati, the late Prof. Tjondronegoro and the late Prof. Gunawan Wiradi—forms a tradition in Indonesian socio-economic sciences of siding with marginalised groups: the majority of villagers, small farmers, farm labourers, women’s groups, and others. Through this influence, the 4 earned their place in the development of Indonesia’s social science thinking and praxis, in what later became known as the Bogor School. With this foundational spirit of its founders, Sajogyo Institute developed in line with the challenges and demands of the times. Sajogyo Institute’s research, education, training, and policy advocacy work focuses on the politics of concessions, land use change, and global commodity chains; the struggle for women’s access to land and natural resources; rural social movements for the struggle for land sovereignty; and political change and agrarian policy.
Sajogyo Institute’s research approach is Participatory Action Study. The Participatory Action Study approach is derived from Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA), or Participatory Learning and Action (PLA), with the slogan ‘Learning Together, Acting Equally’. The essence of this approach is to learn and act with the community through a continuous process of action–reflection through each stage of the activity. Using this approach, Sajogyo Institute is currently conducting a ‘Land Registration Policy Study and Proposal for Agrarian Reform Land Objects’ as part of its policy advocacy to ensure that farmers receive the land rights (land redistribution) that they are entitled to. The study is conducted in Sigi Regency, Central Sulawesi and Malang Regency, East Java. The two locations were selected in line with the criteria of Sajogyo Institute’s advocacy subject and object, namely that the community should already have its own agrarian reform agenda prepared, and that it should have reformist actors within the government.
Agrarian Reform Justice: A Continuing Effort
Since 2014, Sajogyo Institute has played a significant role in pushing for the Presidential Decree on Agrarian Reform to be a priority agenda of President Joko Widodo. Sajogyo Institute’s other efforts include, a) acting together with the National Conference for Agrarian Reform (KNPA) to prepare the White Paper on Agrarian Reform as the basis for the academic text of the Presidential Regulation on Agrarian Reform; b) initiating the substance, then facilitating and providing recommendations on a series of activities at the National Agrarian Reform Conference (KNRA); and c) producing a Policy Paper on the Proposal for the Establishment of a Presidential Working Unit for Agrarian Conflict Resolution.
In 2019, following political dynamics especially during the Widodo administration, Sajogyo Institute again conducted a study on Agrarian Reform in Sigi and Malang Regencies in response to the issuance of Presidential Regulation 86/2018 concerning Agrarian Reform as the embodiment of the president’s political promise in the fifth Nawacita (Nine Goals), namely ‘Improving Indonesia’s Quality of Life … through Agrarian Reform’. In a desk study of policies on the development of land inventory and land registration in Indonesia from Soekarno to present day, Sajogyo Institute found significant policy differences between each government period. From these findings, Sajogyo Institute formulated a study on the development of land inventory policies for Agrarian Reform in different periods.
To implement Agrarian Reform, the government reserved 9 million hectares of Land Objects for Agrarian Reform (Tanah Objek Reforma Agraria, TORA), which includes the components of asset legalisation, asset redistribution, and release of forest areas. Nationally, the realisation of Agrarian Reform targets has been going well in general, although in forest areas achievement has not been too significant. In regions that have experienced conflict and have a high demand for agricultural land, such as Sigi and Malang Regencies, progress has been slow.
From the field and policy research that have been carried out, Sajogyo Institute mapped out 3 main problems in the Agrarian Reform program. The first of these is the many screenings in the Agrarian Reform programs, especially in the context of forest areas. In addition to Presidential Decree 86/2018, forest areas have their own regulations for settling forest area boundaries, namely Presidential Regulation 88/2017 concerning Settlement of Land Tenure in Forest Areas (PPTKH). From these regulations, there are several derivative regulations and technical instructions used as assessment material to determine TORA. From here problems start to emerge as many assessment indicators do not match the TORA proposals from communities. The second problem is the use of ordinary regulations in resolving problems in conflict areas when these should be supported by comprehensive regulations. This approach has greatly restricted progress in the conflict resolution process. The third problem is the need for political will, especially from the central government, to tackle the regulatory barriers to resolving agrarian conflicts. Within this context, Sajogyo Institute tries to position itself as an intermediary between Local Farmers Organizations (Organisasi Tani Lokal, OTL) and the government to ensure that land redistribution can materialise in locations that have submitted their TORA proposals.
Sajogyo Institute advocates for agrarian reform policies by actively engaging OTLs and farmer groups as potential beneficiaries of TORA. Based on the data collected, Sajogyo Institute together with OTLs and farmer groups pushes for the Agrarian Reform policy process with related parties, including the local Environment and Forestry Services (LHK) and the Agrarian and Spatial Planning Service/National Land Agency (ATR/BPN). Sajogyo Institute also engages in organisational strengthening and consolidation, both horizontally among members in farmer organisations and groups, as well as vertically involving other civil society organisations that share the same agenda. Sajogyo Institute and OTLs propose and encourage the process of land redistribution in priority locations in line with the needs of OTLs and farmer groups.
To ensure an effective and strategic advocacy, Sajogyo Institute promotes a collaborative scheme with the various parties that it engages. In Malang Regency, Sajogyo Institute involves the South Malang Farmers Communication Forum (Forkotmas), while in Sigi Regency Sajogyo Institute involves farmer groups from each village, local Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), as well as student communities, local academics and individuals who share the Agrarian Reform’s concern for justice.
In its advocacy work, Sajogyo Institute also promotes the gender equality and social inclusion (GESI) approach. Sajogyo Institute strives that its meetings—with the government, academics, farmer groups, and local communities—always consider the representation of women and the poor. In a focus group discussion process at a regional office in Central Sulawesi, for example, Sajogyo Institute invited women representatives from Bunga Village to attend and participate. Women and the poor have a significant and crucial role and stake in the TORA proposal process, and are beneficiaries of TORA, so their involvement is a necessity.
The analysis of the role and involvement of rural women and the poor in promoting TORA in regions is intended to encourage the Agrarian Reform Task Force (GTRA) Team and the Land Registration Team to take a closer look at the beneficiaries of Agrarian Reform. For Sajogyo Institute, women and the poor in rural areas are priority beneficiaries in land redistribution, and it is important that the process is monitored closely to ensure inclusive implementation.
Knowledge Sector Initiative (KSI) Support
Support from KSI has enabled Sajogyo Institute to carry out studies and advocacy work on Agrarian Reform policies. The studies on land inequality supported by KSI have helped popularise the issue of land tenure inequality among the public through Sajogyo Institute’s focus on advocacy, and publication and dissemination of its research results. Amidst the conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic, KSI has also provided the opportunity for Sajogyo Institute to develop online data collection and distribution methods for its research results. This topic provides an important illustration that in any study of tenure governance, land tenure inequality must always be taken into account.
 Per December 2020, asset legalisation reached 155.4% or 6.99 million hectares from the target of 4.5 million hectares. Land redistribution reached 27.57% or 1.24 million hectares from the 4.5-million-hectare target.