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By Kelly Merchan
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  • Department of Global Development
  • Global Development

Made Adityanandana, a Ph.D. student in development studies whose research examines agrarian transformation and food security, earned the 2024 Ronny Adhikarya Niche Award (RANA) Prize, the Department of Global Development announced today.

The RANA Prize, awarded annually to a graduate student in Global Development, empowers students to push the boundaries of innovative thinking in Southeast Asian studies and global development. Adityanandana, whose journey from Bali to Cornell has been marked by a commitment to understanding agrarian livelihoods and youth participation in development, brings an innovative perspective to the realm of sustainable agriculture.

Adityanandana’s research delves into the challenges faced by smallholders in Indonesia, particularly rural youth, amid interventions to increase national food production. The RANA Prize will fund a year of research in Central Kalimantan where Adityanandana will trace the structural impediments and discourses that discourage youth from becoming farmers.

At Cornell, his dissertation project explores the generational renewal of family farms, a critical factor in sustaining global food production. Focusing on Indonesia's Food Estate project, the research investigates the intersection of distributive policy, livelihood, and youth aspirations in agricultural development.

Indonesia's increasing demand for rice, coupled with an aging farmer population, poses challenges to sustaining growth in production. The Food Estate project, initiated in 2020, aims to address these challenges through agricultural extensification and intensification programs. Adityanandana's research specifically examines the social production of aspirations that shape youth's decisions to become farmers.

Drawing insights from agrarian studies, his fieldwork will unpack socio-economic tensions in rural communities, particularly young people's challenges in accessing farmland. Additionally, the research will examine whether the distribution of new technologies opens up or closes off opportunities for youth in farming. Building on youth studies, the project will investigate how educational institutions and social media represent the idea of successful youth in terms of career and lifestyle, tracing how farm work during childhood shapes the aspirations of rural youth across different classes and genders.

His former roles at the Institute for Peace and Democracy and Udayana University, both in Indonesia, informed his understanding of contemporary agrarian issues, particularly for smallholder farmers, and youth participation in development.

“My vision lies in a food-secure world where all people have access to sufficient nutritious foods,” said Adityanandana. " By bridging agrarian and youth studies, my research aims to shed light on the intricate interplay between social structures, aspirations, and sustainable livelihoods in the context of agricultural development in Indonesia and beyond.”

The RANA Prize

The R-Adhikarya “Niche” Award (RANA) empowers students to pursue innovative thinking in their studies and careers. This annual prize to a graduate student in Global Development recognizes young visionaries who dare to think differently.

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