Greetings from Indonesia
Hallo, greeting from Bogor, West Java, Indonesia.
My name is Irawan, researcher of the Indonesian Agency for Agricultural Research and Development (IAARD), Ministry of Agriculture (MoA). I was one out of 11 participants of the “2019 Kapex Academy Training Program” that was implemented on July 15th to August 16th in the office of Korea Rural Economic Institute (KREI), Naju city. The participants of the training came from 3 countries, namely Indonesia (3 persons), Myanmar (3 persons) and The Philippines (5 persons). I myself joint the training one week late due to obstacles in processing of my passport. Do you know Indonesia? Or you may have already known Bali rather than Indonesia. It often happens because Bali, a Paradise Island is very famous in the world of tourism. Let me introduce Indonesia briefly. Indonesia is a large country with an area of about 1.905 million km2 with a population of around 265 million. It is about 18 times wider than South Korea or 6.5 and 2.8 times wider than the Philippines and Myanmar, respectively. The distance of the westernmost side (Sabang city in the Sumatera Island) and easternmost side (Merauke city in the Papua Island) is around 8,514 km or further than the flight distance of Incheon,Seoul – Cengkareng, Jakarta (5,293 km). The Indonesia’s national capital city is Jakarta, located on the island of Java. Indonesia has 17,504 islands, including 5 big islands, namely Papua (786,000 km2 including Papua New Guinea), Kalimantan (743,330 km2 including Sarawak, Malaysia), Sumatera (443,065 km2), Sulawesi (174,600 km2), and Java (126,700 km2). Meanwhile Bali is a small island (5,780 km2) with a population of around 4.2 million. Want to know more? Please visit Indonesia any time. Oh sorry, I live in Bogor, known as the city of rain, located about 55 km south of Jakarta. Jakarta is on seashore, while Bogor is hilly and mountainous.
Let’s back to the “2019 Kapex Academy” training program. I was honored to be part of the training program. My institute recommended me and two other researchers to study agricultural policies in Korea, specifically related to the research topic on “Enhancing Agricultural Productivity by Developing Environmentally Friendly Fertilizer Sectors”. A few months before the training, our team and KREI team had discussed the training material. The KREI team came to Indonesia twice before the training was held. The arrival of the KREI team was not solely for the training purpose but for the implementation joint research. I think the “2019 Kapex Academy” training program was excellent designed. As shown in Table 1 the training module has accommodated the interests of each participating country. It was very awesome. One month was more than enough time to study the planned topics and produced a comprehensive report for publication article material and the preparation of a 2020 research proposal. I thought it should have been.
Personally, the Korea Agricultural Policies, especially on abolishment of inorganic fertilizer subsidy and its related policies, programs and projects (such as development of Eco-friendly farming agriculture and organic fertilizer subsidy) are the most interesting topics. The abolishment of inorganic fertilizer subsidy to farmer in 2011 did not affect to decrease of rice productivity. The rice productivity in Korea continues to increase, while the average use of chemical fertilizers has decreases in the period 2011- 2015. This fact and the success of Korea’s experience in this field are very important and valuable to academics, researchers and the Indonesian government. As is known, fertilizer subsidies in Indonesia always increase every year, while in some locations intensive rice fields have been reported to have used excessive inorganic fertilizers (> 700 kg/ha/planting season) which has a negative impact on environmental quality. However, Korea’s success in that field has not yet been fully understood due to the lack of deepening of lectures material and practices (field visits). In my opinion it happened because there were weaknesses in the implementation of the “2019 Kapex Academy training”. The suitability of lecture topics and field visits with country interest was quite low (35-45%) because the training implementation was combined, even though training participants from the three countries had different interests. I think only opening and closing ceremony and “lecture in common” sessions could be combined class. The most relevant lectures to my own interests were: (1) Environment-Friendly Agriculture in Korea by Lim Youngah, (2) Soil Quality Management in Korea by Dr. Yoo-Hak Kim, (3) Korean Fertilizer Policy and Environmentally Friendly Agriculture by Dr. Chang-yong Kang, (4) The Organic Research and Technology System in Korea by Dr. Shim Changki, and (5) Farm Mechanization Policy by Dr. Chang-yong Kang. Meanwhile, I (who joint the training one week late) had to attend about 17-19 lectures. Besides, I missed an important and interesting field visits regarding the implementation of organic farming or Eco-friendly farming as well as management of small or medium scale of organic fertilizer factory. The training organizer could not facilitate to visit and discuss with farmer’s group who implementing organic farming and eco-friendly (chemical pesticides free) farming, as well as producers of organic fertilizer. So, even though the training program had been designed very well, but due to weakness in the implementation that the main goals were not met. The implementation of the training should have been separated, except for the topics of “courses in common”. Each country should have much opportunities to deepen the related topics in lecture and field visit as well. The participants, the respected lecturers and country advisor should have intensive interaction to deepen the subjects and, even to manage the planned field visit. Interaction/discussion/interview with farmers or practitioners in the field should be structured. If this was done, the training duration would be no more than 16 days. On this occasion I would like to express my highest gratitude and appreciation to Dr. Chang-yong Kang, who sacrificed his time and material for the Indonesia participants while in Naju city. Even though, he has retired from KREI, he sincerely had often accompanied us on weekends, including brought two Indonesian (Dr. Surono and Dr. Adha Siregar) to the Mr. Heur organic fertilizer factory in another city (a 3-hour vehicle trip from Naju city). My sincere thank also goes to respected resource persons, interpreter, and the “2019 Kapex Academy” training organizers, KREI researchers and staffs who involved in its planning, decision, and implementation. Finally, if this notes offends the parties, for that I apologize. In fact, I just want to offer small suggestions for improving the implementation of Kapex Academy in the future.