Know your farmer: Hetty - Verstegen Algemeen

Know your farmer

Ultimate transparency: knowing who grows your food. With the new blockchain application from Verstegen Spices & Sauces and Fairfood, you get to know the farmers behind your nutmeg. Farmers like Tony, Pransisko, Hertje and Jamal ... From June you can buy nutmeg at Coop and see how much all farmers sold, if they received a fair price and if they can make ends meet. As the project unfolded, we looked up some farmers to find out more about themselves, their business and their dreams. Today we speak with Rahmawati.

Interview with farmer Hetty

The 39-year-old Rahmawati, who also calls herself Hetty, lives in a particularly remote Indonesian island. While the rain is pouring down, we reach her house via a great many winding roads. Most eye-catching is the bright blue shop, which is under construction next to her house. She sells eggs, flour, rice and shampoo and occasionally chicks, if there are any.

Standing in front of her house, the high mountains rise directly behind it. On the mountains the coconut trees immediately catch the eye, and under them the nutmeg trees. On one of those mountains are Hetty’s nutmeg trees. She has about 200. Hetty and her husband inherited the land and trees from his parents. "I myself come from a nutmeg family," she says, when we sit on plastic chairs under the shelter in front of her house. “So, as a child I learned how to grow good nutmeg - when to hang it and when to pick the seeds." A few clove trees that are still on the land will soon be exchanged for nutmeg trees. They make more money.


"I have no idea how nutmeg is processed, or where it is exported to."

We ask her if she actually knows what happens to her nutmeg. The fact that part of it will be shipped to the Netherlands is new to her. “Do you use it for food or as medicine?" When we use our phone to show a film of nutmeg being grated over cauliflower, she opens her eyes wide: “Just like that? That's very spicy!" We have to laugh and remind her of the amount of hot pepper chopped over all our dishes on the island.

She finds it interesting. We explain the blockchain project she's part of. She agrees wholeheartedly. "I think it would be nice to know more about the whole process. I have no idea how nutmeg is processed, or where it is exported to. I think in the end I may be able to earn more if I know what you people over there like to buy."

Hetty is the proud mother of two children - a girl of 17 and a boy of 8. The aim is to keep her children at school for as long as possible - to offer them the best possible education. "Maybe just on the island, but I hope they can go to a better school, in a town on the mainland." She is quiet for a moment and then she says: "My daughter would very much like to be an air hostess."

Family situation

At the moment her daughter is still living at home, and Hetty is very happy with that. She really enjoys the days they spend together as a family. She likes to spend their days off on the beach with her husband and children, just a little walk down the street. "There we eat and drink together, and the kids can have a nice swim." She likes the Sugar Festival. “Absolutely the most beautiful day of the year, because then the whole family comes together".

While we talk Hetty looks at me with serene eyes and talks in a calm, soft voice. Yes, she says, with more income they could build a better house, and she could expand her shop. But she does not complain. "All I really want, is to grow old quietly in this village." It would be nice if the children could find an even better life elsewhere. "As long as they come back once in a while - at least once a year for the Sugar Festival."