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Organic farming takes off in Bali - Jakarta Post
Last modified: 2011-01-25 06:41:02

Bali is on track to become a leading producer of organic farm products after several local farmers' groups gained popular recognition and formal certification, an official says.

"From 2009-2010 period we saw a steady increase in the confidence of the markets and certification bodies towards organic farm commodities produced by Bali's farmers," Bali administration publication and documentation chief I Ketut Teneng said.

Five organic product certificates had been issued to local farmers in were, Teneng said, including certificates issued to the Somya Pertiwi farmers association in Penebel, Tabanan, for organic rice and the Mekar Sari farmers association in Sibetan, Karangasem, for organic snakefruit.

The associations received the certificates in 2009 and the certificates will be valid until 2012.

Assisted by a local NGO, farmers and residents of Sibetan have expanded their operation to produce an organically processed snakefruit wine and have transformed a snakefruit plantation into a community based eco-tourism attraction.

"In 2010 organic certificates were granted to three local farmers' associations and the certificates are valid until 2014," Teneng added.

The farmers associations receiving certifications are Lila Cita Karya in Seririt, Buleleng, for organic grapefruit; Beras Merah in Penebel, Tabanan, for organic red rice; Subak Selat in Payangan Gianyar for organic rice and Golden Leaf Farm in Buleleng for organic vegetables.

Golden Leaf Farm is a commercial company promoting organic farming, helping farmers in Asah Gobleg to farm organically and purchasing locally produced organic produce.

"The certificate received by Golden Leaf Farm covers 89 farm products, including avocados, bananas, jackfruit, yellow pumpkins, strawberries, coffee and sweet potatoes," he said, adding that the certificates were issued after a rigid inspection process and verification against the nation's organic food standards.

The distribution of certificate holders across the isle was proof that organic farming was more than an exercise for Denpasar-based scholars and environmental activists, he said.

"It shows how farmers in the island's villages have started to embrace organic farming as a viable and beneficial alternative to conventional farming," Teneng said.

Organic farming certifications were previously bestowed by national and international certification bodies on three specific products from Bali; cocoa, robusta coffee and cashews.

"Currently we are waiting for the results of certification process carried out by Seloliman Certification Commission for 29 agriculture products proposed by the Bali' Agriculture Agency," he said, adding that the products proposed for certification included corn, mangos, orchids, tomatoes and chili.

Teneng said he was convinced that the ongoing progress would help Bali become an organic island by 2013, as per target.

So far, organic initiatives have been well-received, with more than 40 farmers associations enrolling in the system in its initial stage.

"We are very grateful that Governor Made Mangku Pastika has shown very strong support for organic farming. Now it is a matter of implementing this vision," Bali Organic Association chairwoman Luh Kartini said.

Ni Komang Erviani, The Jakarta Post

Keywords: Indonesia, organic, Bali, organik, Ketut Teneng
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