Saturday, November 24, 2012

Indonesia to launch `orange revolution` to boost tropical fruit exports

Indonesia is a country blessed with natural beauty and is home to 10 percent of the world`s plant species. 

There are around 40,000 species of flowering plants, including 5,000 species of orchids and more than 3,000 fruit-bearing tree species, according to

However, if one visits a supermarket or a traditional market in Jakarta, he or she will notice that a market`s fruit corner is flooded with imported fruits, such as pears and oranges from China, for example.

It has been reported that people in China are fond of tropical fruits which are abundant in Indonesia, and Indonesia has not used this business opportunity in an optimal manner.

Therefore, Indonesia`s State Enterprise Ministry and the Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB) have decided to come up with the orange revolution, to significantly increase the production of tropical fruits and to promote the fruits overseas. 

"It is important to support the IPB in its venture, to reduce fruit imports and to boost fruit exports, particularly to China," said Indonesia`s State Enterprise Minister, Dahlan Iskan, on Tuesday (Nov 20).

The orange revolution will be conducted by the state enterprise ministry, together with the Bogor Institute of Agriculture. 

In the first stage, the ministry will use unproductive tea plantations owned by PT Perkebunan Nusantara (PTPN) to plant durian, mangosteen and mango trees.

Other Indonesian tropical fruits with export potential are avocados, starfruits, pineapples, rambutans, dukus and salaks.

Minister Dahlan Iskan is keen on carrying out the orange revolution, from 2013, by planting three kinds of fruit-bearing trees, namely, mango, mangosteen and durian. 

"The idea emerged from the fact that we have been flooded by Chinese fruits so far. So, why can`t we meet China`s high demand for tropical fruits?" he added.

"Till date, China gets tropical fruits from Bangkok (Thailand), the Philippines and Vietnam, which are not tropical countries, but sub-tropical," he stated.

PT Perkebunan Nusantara VIII, a state-owned plantation company, will plant tropical fruit-bearing trees, such as durian and mangosteen, in October 2013, he said.

The plantation company has prepared a plot of land to grow mangosteen and durian trees (1,000 hectares each) in West Java. The Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB) will provide the seedlings.

Before planting the durian and mangosteen trees, the plantation company will plant papaya and banana trees on a 3,000 hectare land, in February 2013. The area used to be a tea plantation, which is no longer productive. 

The orange revolution will be carried out in Aceh, North Sumatra, West Sumatra, Bengkulu, Jambi, Riau, South Sumatra, Lampung, West Java, East Java and Central Java.

Meanwhile, for domestic purposes, Dahlan Iskan has also initiated the planting of 5,000 breadfruit trees at the Nusantara Bonded Zone in Cakung area, North Jakarta. 

Breadfruit tree is chosen because the tree is big and shady, and produces edible fruits. This way, workers in the bonded zone can eat breadfruits, he stated. 

One breadfruit tree can produce around 500 fruits annually. With 5,000 breadfruit trees, a total of 2.5 million fruits can be produced annually, he said.

"From January 2013, a total of 5,000 breadfruit trees will be planted along the roads and open spaces in the bonded zone," the minister said.

He said that the bonded zone is very dry and hot.

"We need to plant some trees," the minister said.

Minister Dahlan invited Dr Sudradjat, a breadfruit expert, so that he can provide inputs on the tree planting program.

The minister also plans to plant breadfruit trees along toll roads.

"It will support the tree planting program, and the trees will produce fruits for people living around the toll areas," he added. 

The Indonesian government, spearheaded by Indonesia`s First Lady, Kristiani Herrawati Bambang Yudhoyono, had initiated the Women`s Movement of Tree Planting and Nursing in 2007, as part of the country`s contribution to reducing the impact of global warming. The Women`s Movement of Tree Planting and Nursing is focused on planting fruit-bearing trees. 

Ani Yudhoyono won a United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) award for her efforts in encouraging Indonesian women to plant a total of 10 million trees simultaneously across the country in 2007. 

This movement, also known as `Climate Change`, saw the planting of more than 15 million trees in 2007. In 2008, over 17 million trees, including breadfruit and coconut trees, were planted. In 2009, Ani Yudhoyono and members of several women`s groups planted 1,150 trees, such as breadfruit and mango trees. Such activities were followed by women`s organizations throughout the country. 

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, upon observing Indonesia`s Tree Planting Day and National Tree Planting Month in West Java, on December 8, 2009, urged the nation to plant 4 billion trees by 2020 and 9.2 billion trees by 2050.

"If we can plant at least half of what we have targeted, we can reduce carbon emissions by 46 billion, by 2050. The figure is indeed pessimistic, but if we can plant more trees, more CO2 can be captured, and this will be our contribution to the world," the president said.

At the G20 summit in Pittsburgh, in September 2009, Yudhoyono pledged to cut emissions by 26 percent by 2020, using the state budget and by 41 percent, if developed nations provided the necessary financial support. (Antara)

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