"By the end of this year, we will deploy 5,930 farmers aides comprising college students, lecturers, graduates of agricultural colleges, and youth farmers," Head of the Agricultural Education Center of Agricultural Extension and Human Resources Development Agency Gunawan Yulianto stated here on Thursday night.
During the coordination meeting to discuss the mentoring program of college students, graduates, and youth farmers for the change in the 2017 State Budget revenue and expenditure, Yulianto revealed that thousands of agricultural extension assistants from 40 partner universities of the Ministry of Agriculture and seven colleges of agricultural extension will be deployed from September to November 2017.
"We are confident, although the implementation time is very short, but it will be effective if it is done optimally," he noted.
Thousands of farmers assistants will be deployed in all regions of Indonesia, from Aceh to Papua, by prioritizing areas of food crops and horticulture, such as a garlic center in Temanggung and a chili center in Yogyakarta.
According to Yulianto, the involvement of college students, lecturers, graduates of agricultural universities, and youth farmers was aimed at ensuring the realization of innovation in the field of agriculture.
He remarked that the effort was also believed to help support the realization of Indonesia as a global food barn by 2045.
"Their involvement is also aimed at assisting agricultural extension workers under the Ministry of Agriculture in which the number is still limited to reach 72 thousand villages having agriculture potential," he pointed out.
He stated that various activities under the mentoring program include mobilizing farmer groups to apply appropriate technology and helping to build agribusiness networks and partnerships between farmers and business players.
He expressed optimism that the mentoring program would help to strengthen the agribusiness system from upstream to downstream for the development of commodities, such as rice, corn, and soybean, and all horticultural crops, such as chili, onion, and garlic.
"We earlier only focused on the soybean crop. Now we will prioritize all horticultural crops, so that Indonesia does not need to import anymore," he added.(*)