The Ministry of Maritime and Fishery IKKPI was asked not to ignore supportive efforts to the upstream fishery sector especially assistance in production development for fishermen and fish cultivation toward integration of MEA 2015. Some circles felt there was no special strategy of the Government for farmers and fishermen who were edged aside by industrialization. The Government's action plan which were frequently disclosed before was not strategic and not evenly distributed between the upstream and downstream sectors. In the masterplan for stepping up competitiveness in fishery, the Government seed to focus too much on the processing and industrializing side and seemed to overlook the importance of production on the farmers' side.
Under such circumstances the Indonesian Fishermen Union [SNI] rated that Indonesia's strategy in facing MEA 2015 was too weak to be competitive. Such was evident in the absence of policies protective to fishermen. Secretary of SNI Budi Laksana made a statement in Jakarta on Monday [26/5] that so far the fishery sector was not the main priority of the Government. And yet around 7 million Indonesians relied their life on the maritime sector. According to Budi, supposedly the fishery sector was the second most important sustainer to agriculture next to food.
Budi remarked that application of technology and preparation of competent human resources in fishery had not been to the maximum, so the Free Trade Agreement being signed between Indonesia and Asean was rated as disadvantageous to traditional fishermen. Budi further remarked that even before the trade agreement with Asean was executed, imported fish were already sold at lower prices than fish caught by traditional fishermen.
The same opinion was expressed by the People's Coalition for Fishery Justice [Kiara]. The Secretary of Kiara, Abdul Halim rated that readiness of traditional and small business in fishery was not adequate toward execution of MEA 2015. According to Abdul Halim, many factors had to be set up by players of the fishery industry like fishermen, businesspeople and supporting rules by the Government. Based on participative survey by Kiara in two business locations, i.e. Lampung and Indramayu, many of them did not know what the Standard of Agricultural Products [GAP] was, and also Good Fish Cultivation Practices [CBIB] was as sustainable fishery production process globally applicable.
The condition according to Halim, was because there was no guidance and counseling by the Government so products of fishery small business was not ready to compete in Asean Free Market. To accelerate preparation by players of small industry and traditional fishermen, Kiara recommended the Government to run two strategic plans.
Firstly, reorientation of budget of the fishery sector 2014 whereby to promote production capacity, for example by motivating businessplayers and fishermen to form cooperatives and self process catch with the aid of the Government.
Secondly, constant guidance and counseling. So far the Government had set up CRIB certified cultivation units up to 3,637 by July 2013.
Responding to low competitiveness of Indonesian fishermen in the Asean region, the Ministry of KKP had prepared a number of strategy. The Dir. Gen. of Processing and Marketing of Fishery Yields [PPHK], the Ministry of KKP Saut P. Hutagalung stated that in implementation of MEA 2015, the Asean region would be a production-based open market where traffic of goods and services would freely move in accordance with Asean agreement.
According to Saut, Indonesia must strengthen competitiveness to anticipate economic integration and enhancing domestic market potentials. Saut rated that the greatest challenge in facing MEA 2015 was to strengthen competitiveness of UKM in the fishery sector and high logistics and transportation cost. (SS)
Business News - May 30, 2014