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RI's small organic farming sector looks set to boom - Jakarta Post
Last modified: 2010-06-05 20:12:39

Indonesia's exports of organic produce are expected to increase by an average of 15 percent a year beginning this year thanks to increases in the country's organic farming sector, a senior Agriculture Ministry official said.

The ministry's director general for products processing and marketing Zaenal Bachrudin said in Jakarta on Thursday that although the country's exports of organic farm products remained relatively small, the size of farming areas using environmentally friendly methods had increased significantly since the launch of the government's Go Organic Campaign last decade.

"However, we are confident of penetrating global market share for organic food products in the future, because we have made preparations, including developing a certification system and giving incentives to farmers developing organic farming techniques since 2001," said Zainal after the opening of the 10th Agro and Food Expo at the Jakarta Convention Center.

Under the program, besides promoting the right concept of organic farming through trainings and workshops, the government has also provided financial assistance to farmers to build organic fertilizer processing equipment, he said.

The government has also facilitated the establishment of organic farming certifications, he said.

Currently, Indonesia has seven organic food certification agencies. They have certified 48 organic farmer groups farming areas covering 102,000 hectares," Zainal.

"By subsidizing the certification's costs, we expect the number of certified organic farmer groups to increase by 50 percent each year," Zaenal told The Jakarta Post .

Agriculture Minister Suswono, who opened the four-day exhibition, said the government had allocated about Rp 350 billion (US$37.8 million) from this year's state budget to provide organic fertilizer processing units to farmers.

Suswono believed organic food products global market would continue to increase because the people's awareness for healthy and friendly environment products had grown significantly over the past several years.

A study by international consultant company Organic Monitor shows that global consumption of organic produce and other related products had increased to $52 billion in 2008 from $23 billion in 2002.

"By applying organic farming techniques, farmers' welfare will also improve," Suswono, citing that, in the domestic market, the price of organic rice is generally three times that of conventional rice.

Organic rice can fetch even higher prices in overseas markets, he added.

Meanwhile, Hypermart's director for merchandising and marketing, Meshvara Kanjaya, said the demand for organic foods was also rising in the company's outlets.

"Sales of organic farm products at Hypermart has risen by about 50 percent a year, although the value of the sales value is relatively small," Meshvara said. (rch)

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sat, 05/29/2010

Keywords: RI's small organic farming sector looks set to boom, Jakarta Post, Indonesia, organic, certification, certified, Suswono
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