Few figures have championed the cause of Indonesia’s farmers and rural communities more than Gunawan Wiradi, who has died aged 88. Born in Solo, a mid-size city in Indonesia’s Central Java province, Gunawan authored several influential books and, in 1994, co-founded leading nonprofit group Konsorsium Pembaruan Agraria (KPA), or the Consortium for Agrarian Reform. Gunawan remained a leading figure in the agrarian reform movement for half a century, spanning radically different political eras: from Soekarno’s Guided Democracy (after Indonesia declared independence) to Suharto’s authoritarian New Order government and the post-1998 reform period. After graduating from high school in Solo in 1953, Gunawan won a scholarship to attend the agricultural school at the University of Indonesia. That school would later be spun off into its own university, the Bogor Institute of Agriculture, a training ground for many of Indonesia’s leading agrarian economists and fieldworkers. Gunawan Wiradi Gunawan published his thesis, “Land Reform in a Javanese Village, Ngandaan,” before taking up work as a field researcher in the Ministry of Agriculture’s agro-economic survey project. Gunawan then moved to the Malaysian state of Penang to continue his postgraduate studies at Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM). He completed this postgraduate degree in 1978. In 1994 Gunawan formed the KPA with fellow agrarian leaders Dianto Bachriadi, Noer Fauzi Rachman, Maria Roewiastoeti and Sediono M.P. Tjondronegoro. Ever since its founding almost three decades ago, the KPA has documented and recorded conflicts and injustices in underreported regions of the world’s fourth-largest country. Gunawan’s own writing on agrarian policy…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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