INDONESIA - The Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry has revealed that it is currently promoting a nationwide counselling program to develop fish farming across the nation.
Suseno Sukoyono, the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry’s human resources development agency head, said recently that the increased number of fish farming counselors would help the fisheries sector to ensure food security, reports TheJakartaPost.
“The fisheries sectors should be mostly composed of small farmers in rural areas, and providing these small farmers with advice on how to run their business is a good step toward that,” Suseno said at the fish farmers and government representatives meeting, known as Kelompencapir, in Nila village, Klaten regency, Central Java.
Kelompencapir is a meeting of the government with rural farmers to equip them with knowledge. The meetings were initiated by former president Soeharto in the New Order era.
Suseno added that the current 12,300 counselors, both private and hired by the government, was a great boon to the national fisheries business. He added that the number of counselors had risen almost five-fold from 2,494 counselors in 2010.
“I have met a number of fish farming groups in Klaten who made Rp 12 to 13 billion ($1 to 1.1 million) annually. This is solid proof that the fisheries business is going through a good period,” Mr Suseno said.
Based on data released by the ministry, the proportion of fish farmers receiving counseling has grown considerably, from 11,504 fish farmer groups in 2010 to 48,473 groups in 2014.
Pandu Sujatmoko, a non-government fish farming counselor in Nila Village, said that a counselor not only contributed to fish farmers’ development, but to the economic development of the local area as well.
“Most of the tilapia ponds in this village were unused land when I started the counseling program in 2008,” Pandu told The Jakarta Post.
He said that now the unused land was used for tilapia ponds worth billions of rupiah and had been the village’s main livelihood for years. He added that the ponds had also become a tourist attraction, with hundreds of visitors every year.
Pandu added that counselors played an important role in a village’s development.
“The important thing for a counselor is to make sure that the fish farmers are able to apply what they have learned from us,” he said.
Previously, the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) deputy chairman for maritime affairs and fisheries, Yugi Prayanto, said on Friday that the fisheries sector, if managed properly, could make a substantial contribution to the country’s gross domestic product.
He said that Kadin is currently preparing a roadmap of maritime and fisheries programs for the next five years that will offer achievable programs to the next government to increase the country’s revenue.
Yugi added that one of the roadmap’s main proposals involved optimizing the cultivation of fish and fishing in exclusive economic zones and on the high seas.
“We are aiming for a national fishery production of 38.2 million tons by 2019. We believe that seafood can become a prime commodity for national food security,” he said as quoted by Antara news agency.
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