Indonesia is ACIAR’s largest partner-country program, due to both its proximity and strategic importance to Australia and to the imperative of reducing the large proportion of its population living in poverty (49% live on less than US$2 per day). The agricultural sector accounts for 40% of employment but only 14% of GDP. This indicates the high proportion of the poor engaged in agriculture, and the consequent importance of strengthening the sector in order to reduce poverty. Strengthening agriculture (including the crop, livestock, forestry, marine fisheries and aquaculture subsectors) is critical for poverty reduction and equitable development across Indonesia, as both underpin the country’s economic growth strategy.
ACIAR’s program in Indonesia directly supports the Australia Indonesia Partnership 2008–13 (AIP). The AIP is a comprehensive plan of Australia’s support to Indonesia that focuses on poverty alleviation. ACIAR’s support, through Pillar 1 of the plan—Sustainable growth and economic management—focuses on improved economic opportunities for rural people through increases in productivity, access to markets, and better infrastructure and growth of small- to medium-size enterprises in target provinces.
The AIP emphasises that ‘support for applied research will be increasingly important in informing debate and policy settings in Indonesia, including in regional areas. Support will be given to partnerships between Australian, Indonesian and multilateral institutions (where relevant) that can improve Indonesia’s capacity to identify relevant research topics and improve the quality of applied research...’. ACIAR contributes to this through its agricultural policy, agribusiness development and technical research for development, to support increased productivity and more-effective and equitable access to markets for agriculture, forestry and fisheries. In addition to supporting research on productivity, ACIAR research is addressing related pest and disease management issues, including shared crop and livestock biosecurity concerns; postharvest processing; and market development issues. Protection of the resource base is supported through research collaboration on sustainable cropping, forestry and fisheries management, and through policy research on effective engagement in markets, particularly with respect to domestic agricultural policy.
The geographic focus of the Indonesia program includes some of the poorest regions (e.g. six provinces in eastern Indonesia) as well as the more developed provinces in Java and Bali. This gives the research program flexibility in tackling rural poverty through alternate approaches, including ensuring food and nutritional security through enhanced productivity and food quality, and developing improved market linkages for high-value products sourced from smallholder production systems. It also facilitates better linkages between national and province-based research agencies.
ACIAR’s research program uses Indonesian systems for defining research priorities and the delivery of programs, and projects. ACIAR works with Indonesian partners to involve next and end users during the development of projects, to embed activities within value chains and at the farming community level, and to integrate researchers with a wide range of stakeholders—including farmers, the private sector, NGOs, extension services and policymakers, where appropriate.
While the program emphasises implementation of research through institutional partnerships, ACIAR also supports the longer term sustainability of research outcomes through both individual capacity building and institutional development. In 2012 ACIAR will assist Indonesia in implementing a revitalisation of its agricultural R&D systems through a US$100 million World Bank-supported program, Sustainable Management of Agricultural Research and Technical Development, focusing on institutional strengthening within the Indonesian Agency for Agricultural Research and Development (IAARD).
Wherever opportunities exist, ACIAR seeks to implement its Indonesian research program as part of a whole-of-government approach, especially with AusAID and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Two ACIAR projects are currently being implemented that respond to Indonesian priorities as part of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement being developed between the two countries. In 2012 ACIAR will conduct an analysis of agribusiness development opportunities in eastern Indonesia to help inform the implementation of the Australia Indonesia Partnership Decentralisation – Rural Economic Development Program, a large AusAID-funded project that will commence in late 2012.
ACIAR’s program is also delivered through partnerships with international development agencies such as the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in the provinces of Papua and West Papua. An increasing number of ACIAR projects involve major private-sector partners sharing implementation and funding, with two notable examples being PT Mars Symbioscience Indonesia (cocoa and seaweed research projects) and PT Garuda Foods (peanut supply-chain research).
The current medium-term research strategy (2012–16) was agreed in February 2012, based on consultations held in November 2011 between ACIAR’s research programs and key Indonesian research coordinating agencies and stakeholder organisations. The strategy was also informed by priorities that emerged from focused consultations within the Fisheries program (March 2010), Animal Health and Livestock Production programs (September 2011), Horticulture program (October 2011) and Forestry program (October 2011).
Under the medium-term research strategy, ACIAR’s program addresses the following key priorities:
- Strengthening livestock production and biosecurity systems
- Establishing effective disease surveillance, and control policies and systems
- Developing options and procedures for control of zoonotic diseases
- Strengthening livestock management and marketing systems
- Protecting food/feed safety and quality
- Managing livestock in a changing climate
- Improving animal welfare
- Increasing the productivity, profitability and competitiveness of Indonesian horticultural and other high-value plant products
- Improved domestic and export market access, increased efficiency of value chains and identification of value-adding and product development opportunities
- Improvement of seed systems, production of disease-free planting material, selection of superior cultivars and maintenance of species diversity
- Development of ICM systems (pest and diseases, nutrition, irrigation management, canopy management)
- Improvement in postharvest handling, quality, sanitary and phytosanitary standards; overcoming technical market access constraints; improving food safety; and development of organic production systems
- Revitalisation of farming and seed supply systems to improve field crop and vegetable production in a post-tsunami Aceh
- Development of scaling-up systems and production systems and strategies for adaptation to climatic variability
- More-profitable smallholder aquaculture systems and enhanced capture fisheries management
- Development of policy options and approaches for reducing overexploitation of stocks; illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing; and ecosystem degradation
- Sustainable management of fisheries, and conservation of fish resources and ecosystems
- Development of appropriate technologies for small- and medium-scale aquaculture and fisheries in eastern Indonesia
- Breeding and genetic improvement of key aquatic resources (e.g. shrimp, finfish, shellfish, seaweed)
- Development of disease management, monitoring and surveillance systems for fisheries and ecosystems
- Enhancing livelihoods from forestry products and services
- Improving productivity and reducing impacts from pests and diseases in commercial plantations
- Enhancing outcomes from small-scale commercial plantations, agroforestry and development of non-timber forest products
- Capturing more value from plantation wood products through improved processing technologies, and development of new products matched to appropriate markets
- Sustainable management of native forests and restoration of landscapes
- Adaptation to and mitigation of climate change, including implementation of REDD+
- Profitable agribusiness systems
- Improving smallholder access and competitiveness in rapidly transforming markets
- Identifying and promoting profitable market opportunities and agribusiness systems
- Enhancing smallholder access to market information, knowledge, skills and technology options
- Increasing capacity in market, business and value-chain analysis
- Improving policies to underpin agribusiness development, a cross-cutting program that will enhance the above sectoral priorities with policy analysis that might include:
- Examining domestic market and trade regulatory developments in the context of food price volatility and risk
- Analysing farm adjustment policy options in response to climate change and variability influences
- Analysing the ability of smallholder farmers and fishers to increase product value as markets rapidly transform, and developing appropriate policy mechanisms to support these transitions.