“We are cooperating mainly in agriculture to improve the living standard of farmers. Last month, we sent 30 farmers to Taiwan to learn about agriculture,” Head of Foreign Cooperation Bureau at the Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture Mesah Tarigan said after attending a seminar commemorating the 42 years of Taiwan and Indonesia Agricultural Cooperation here on Thursday.
In the near future, the Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture will send 40 more farmers to Taiwan.
Tarigan noted that Taiwan has advantages in agriculture, especially in terms of seed supply.
“Our seeds are not as good as those of Taiwan. We still import to meet the national needs. Some plants that have been successfully developed from our cooperation with Taiwan are, among others, crystal guava in Bogor and asparagus in Bali,” he explained.
Meanwhile, the Head Representative of the Taipei Economic and Trade Office (TETO), John C Chen, said the cooperation between Indonesia and Taiwan has been established since 42 years ago.
“There are various collaborative programs implemented, including improvements of cultivation systems for mushroom, asparagus, oranges, and livestock,” Chen said.
There have been 18 projects, including OVOP Bali Project, agribusiness project in Bogor (West Java), corporate agriculture enhancement and development in Bandung (West Java), development of superior varieties in South Sulawesi, and cooperation in agricultural pilot area in Karawang (West Java).
The benefit of this empowerment program has, for instance, been felt by a farmer in Bali. The farmer was used to living miserable, but after participating in the One Product One Village (OVOP) Bali Project training for asparagus cultivation, his income is now more stable and higher than before.
“We hope that the cooperation between Taiwan and the Southeast Asian countries will be mutually beneficial and prosperous. Indonesia is the most important partner for Taiwan under this policy, and for the past two years, Taiwan has been actively enhancing cooperation with Indonesia, deepening relations bilateral, and strengthening people-to-people relations,” Chen explained.
Indonesia and Taiwan also have an agricultural mega project in Karawang, West Java.
The collaboration includes the development of irrigation techniques, as well as rice, horticulture and livestock cultivation, and empowerment agricultural associations.
Reporting by Indriani
Editing by Libertina, Rahmad Nasution