By Teguh Iman Affandi
Food sovereignty is not only about refusing food imports policy. Paying attention to what is going on within the food supply chain also counts
Rita Mustikasari, a member of Kaoem Telapak, starts with tea commodity. She questioned the only one species of tea, Camellia sinensis, developed in Indonesia. “Although, Indonesia is rich in species biodiversity,” he said.
Rita is aware that other species of tea also are being developed in Indonesia. However, the trader directly sold the commodities abroad. Then, they packaged and resold it to Indonesia. “They sold at a high price. Hence the commodities are only consumed by the Indonesian middle class,” said Rita.
This fact led Rita to develop Martani Indonesia, a mandate from the People’s Coalition for Food Sovereignty (KRKP) whose aim is not only trading but also instilling a notion of the importance of food sovereignty.
In Martani Indonesia, Rita develops main products made from telang flower or the Latin name Clitoria ternatea. In English, the flower is named butterfly pea. “The idea is not only selling telang flowers but introducing many types of herbal plants that can be brewed and enjoyed as a tea,” said Rita.
Rita’s encounter with the telang flower began when she visited Bangkok, Thailand. For the first time, she found rice with blue colour. Next, she was in a village and the host served her a blue beverage. “What a beautiful colour,” said Rita.
Rita was astonished when The host just picked the butterfly pea straight from his garden, not buying from elsewhere. After noticing that, She started to learn about the butterfly pea flower. Rita read many sources about the flower. Then, she knows the anti-oxidant content in the butterfly pea flower. She also learned about natural dyes for food. “Many natural dyes, why don’t we use them, instead of relying on chemical ones,” Rita mused.
When she felt knowing enough about the butterfly pea flower, Rita started trying to access the market. She started from her circle of friends. After that, She tried to reach the public. When she delivers orders, she always brings extra butterfly pea flower tea along with the seeds.
So, when she stopped at the cafe for breakfast, she would talk to people around her introducing the butterfly pea. “I shared the testimony of people who drink the butterfly pea flower regularly, the impact on the body, if someone asks for the butterfly pea flower seeds, I will give it,” said Rita.
Through Martani, Rita has been selling butterfly pea flowers for about seven years. The biggest challenge for Rita, in terms of developing the commodity, was herself. “The challenge is being patient with yourself,” Rita said.