In facing the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) 2015, the agricultural sector is encouraged to strengthen intra-and extra-ASEAN trade and product competitiveness. To enhance the competitiveness of agricultural commodities, it is not only determined by good quality of the product, but also a competitive price, and environmentally friendly ways in the production processes. To that end, efficient use of resources, appropriate technology and a strong commitment from all stakeholders are needed.
According to the Secretary General of the Agribusiness and Agro-Industry Society of Indonesia (MAAI), Maxdeyul Sola, on Tuesday (April 22), in order to improve competitiveness, the government should also change the mindset if they want the agribusiness and agro-industry to grow in Indonesia. It is said that if initially Indonesia is just doing planting, now it is time to think about the how the yields will be absorbed by market. In this case, the government must establish a good post planting scheme and clear flow of distribution.
He saw that until now the government has not been able to form a well integrated farming system. Thus, even if the farmers have successfully cultivated the land properly, their yields are not absorbed because they did not meet market qualifications. He also saw that the crop yields are wasted because there is no chain connecting farmers and the yield processing plants.
He said that today, agribusiness development supported by rural agro-industries based on local resources, with zero-waste concept continues to be done. It is one of the strategies to increase added value and competitiveness, which in turn is expected to improve the welfare of farmers. With a zero-waste concept, all components of commodity must be a product that has a sale value, so the use of resources can be efficient and it can reduce production costs.
The zero-waste concept is often called bio-industry. Bio industry is a smart choice to enhance the added value that directly contributes to the welfare of farmers in addition to producing agricultural products which are competitive in the global market. To support agribusiness development which is supported by agro-industries in rural areas with the concept of bio-industry, there has been a variety of appropriate processing technology produced nationally.
The Director General of Horticulture of the Ministry Agriculture, Hassanuddin Ibrahim, said that the Ministry of Agriculture is ready to increase the competitiveness of the national horticultural products, such as fruits and vegetables, in order to face the ASEAN free market in 2015. Efforts that will be made to improve the competitiveness of domestic horticultural products include, among others, the application of good farming technologies ranging from the use of quality seeds, land preparation, and fertilization until harvest.
In addition, to do post-harvest improvement, for example in terms of logistics or distribution of yields from production centers to consumer. Then, his party gives assistance in the from of packing house and grading or sorting equipment based on quality. Hasanuddin said that today, 90% of national demand is supplied from local sources while imports are only about 10%.
In addition to horticultural products, the competitiveness of the national sugar industry must also be increased in order to face competition in AEC 2015. Currently, the challenge of the national sugar industry is very heavy. He said that with the condition of the national sugar industry today, it is difficult to compete in the AEC, especially with Thailand that has now become one of the world’s major exporters of sugar. For comparison, sugar production in Thailand is around 10.6 million tons per year, while Indonesia only recorded a total production of 2.55 million tons of sugar in 2013. (SS)
Business New - April 25, 2014