Thus, the farmers do not have to worry (about export activities).
Jakarta (ANTARA) - Cooperatives and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Minister Teten Masduki has advised fishermen and farmers to join cooperatives so that they can be included in the formal economic sector and improve their welfare.

At the 4th National Conference of the Indonesian Traditional Fishers Association (KNTI), accessed from here on Tuesday, he said that fishermen and farmers must no longer work individually.

On average, an Indonesian farmer owns less than half a hectare of land, he noted.

Hence, if the farming community keeps conducting small-scale agricultural businesses individually, it may become difficult to achieve food security in Indonesia, he said.

He cited the examples of developed countries, such as Australia and the United States, which have implemented farmer corporatization to pool thousands of hectares of plantations to ensure a stable food supply.

In fact, the Indonesian government has also implemented a similar corporatization model, such as at the banana farmer cooperatives in Tenggamus district, Lampung province, which are empowering a thousand local farmers to manage 400 hectares of export-oriented banana plantations.

“Thus, the farmers can focus on nurturing the bananas. Furthermore, (the crop is) purchased by the cooperative, then the cooperative exports the product. Thus, the farmers do not have to worry (about export activities)," the minister remarked.

He also urged fishermen to join cooperatives to gain more benefits, for instance, the Minosaroyo Cooperative in Cilacap district, Central Java province, assists fishermen to meet fuel demand and manage the fishery selling center.

Japan, which has become a major fishery player globally, is also applying the cooperative concept and strengthening the role of business units to ensure access to finance, markets, and technology for fishermen, he noted.

“We have known that the marine sector is one of Indonesia's superior economic sectors. However, we are concerned about the fact that many of the fishermen are still poor--it is what we must highlight," he added.

Speaking at the same occasion, State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) Minister Erick Thohir also asked fishermen to join cooperatives to help the government in disbursing subsidized fuel for them.

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Translator: Baqir Alatas, Uyu Liman
Editor: Sri Haryati
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