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    The Republic of Indonesia consists of five large islands and 13,677 smaller islands (about 6,000 of which are inhabited) forming an arc between Asia and Australia. With a total area of 1,919,440 km2. The five principal islands are Sumatra; Java; Borneo, of which the 72% belonging to Indonesia is known as Kalimantan; Sulawesi, formerly called Celebes; and Irian Jaya (West Irian), the western portion of the island of New Guinea. Indonesia has land boundaries with Malaysia (on Borneo), Papua New Guinea (on New Guinea), and East Timor (on Timor). It is bounded on the North by the South China Sea, on the North and East by the Pacific Ocean, and on the South and West by the Indian Ocean. Indonesia has a tropical climate characterized by heavy rainfall, high humidity, high temperature, and low winds.

    Agricultural Sector

    The agricultural sector in Indonesia accounts for 13% of the GDP and involves 47% of the total labour force (CIA, 2007). Three decades of steady progress in agricultural development were abruptly interrupted by the financial and environmental shocks at the end of the 1990s and the country's agricultural sector is just recovering from those shocks. Indonesia is one of the biggest producers of oil palm and oil palm kernels. Other major export crops are: pepper, cashew nuts, rubber, cocoa beans, coffee and tea (FAOSTAT, 2005-06). The arable land accounts to 11.03% of the land in use, permanent crops account to 7.04%, while 81.93% is destined to other uses (CIA, 2007).

    Brief overview of organic farming

    A large proportion of Indonesia's farmers are organic farmers simply because they were not targeted or did not participate in the "green revolution" and are continuing traditional methods of farming. In other areas, farmers could no longer afford pesticides and fertilisers when prices went up as a result of the economic crisis (Down to Earth No. 49, May 2001). In recent years, the government of Indonesia has realized the importance of sustainable agricultural development and became aware that sustainable agricultural development requires integrating natural resource management strategies into agricultural development policies. Since 1986, the Indonesian government banned several types of pesticide, and established the integrated pest management (IPM) program. This programme involved controlling pests through the use of the pests' natural predators. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO, 2006),  pesticide use had declined by 90%, while average rice yields had risen from 6.1 tons per hectare to 7.4 tons per hectare.

    Brief overview of key organic products

    Certified organic produce from Indonesia includes: palm oil, coconuts, coffee, cocoa beans, rice, vegetables, red ginger, mushrooms, cinnamon, pepper, honey, cashew nuts, pineapple and shrimps (BIOCert). Most of the products are sold in semi-processed or raw forms. Organic farms produce mainly for the international markets. The IDEP Foundation (IDEP) reports that consumer demand for organic produce is very low in Indonesia, whilst IFOAM & FiBL (2006) observe an organic boom is taking place in Indonesia. This includes an increase of organic food imports in the major cities. Specialty health food stores can be found in larger cities in Indonesia, catering mostly to an expatriate population and the increasingly aware educated Indonesians with strong interest in organic food.

    The network

    Although no official government programme is implemented in support of organic farming in Indonesia (Food and Fertilizer Technology Center), many NGOs like Pesticides Action Network (PAN) Indonesia, SPTN-HPS, ELSPPAT (Bogor), BITRA, and Sintesa in North Sumatra are trying to promote the debate about agriculture in public whilst organizing practical projects with farmers' groups. These NGOs are members of the national network of organic farmers (Jaringan Kerja Pertanian Organik), which includes both NGOs and farmers' groups. Although not a member of IFOAM, the national network, works together with IFOAM on some activities. The Indonesian Organic Alliance (an alliance of 41 members) has set up a national certification centre called BIOCert (Board of Indonesian Organic Certification). Other NGOs active in the promotion of organic agriculture are: 

    Republic of Indonesia - Ministry of Agriculture
    Jl. Harsono RM No.3
    Ragunan PS. Minggu
    Jakarta 12550
    Tel: +62 (0)21 780 4056
    Fax: +62 (0)21 780 4237
    E-mail: webmaster(at)deptan.go.id
    Website: http://www.deptan.go.id/english/index.html 

    BIOCert (Board of Indonesian Organic Certification)
    Jl. Portibi M II/No. 2
    Perum Cimanggu Permai I
    Bogor - Indonesia 16313
    Tel: +62-251-325605
    Fax: +62-251-325605
    Website: http://www.biocert.or.id/index.php?lang=2

    BITRA Indonesia
    Jl. Bahagia By Pass No.11/35
    Medan 20218,
    North Sumatra - Indonesia
    Tel: +62 61 7876408
    Fax: +62 61 7876408
    E-mail: hatirakyat(at)gmail.com
    Website: http://www.bitra.or.id/english/index.htm

    Jl. Kalasan No 15 Perum Cimanggu Permai I Bogor 16310
    Tel/Fax: +62 (0)251 323 089
    E-mail: elsppat(at)elsppat.or.id
    Website: http://www.elsppat.or.id/

    PO BOX 160
    Ubud, 80571
    Bali, Indonesia
    E-mail: info(at)idepfoundation.org
    Website: www.idepfoundation.org

    Jaringan Kerja Pertanian Organik Indonesia
    Jl. Griyan Lama 20
    Colomadu Solo
    E-mail: jakerpo(at)yahoo.com
    Website: http://www.jakerpo.org/

    E-mail: sintesak(at)indosat.net.id

    Website: http://www.sptn.or.id/english/ 

    The Indonesian Organic Alliance
    Website: http://www.organicindonesia.org/index.php?lang=2


    - CIA FactBook, 31.05.07

    - FAO Statistical Year Book, (2005-06)

    - FAO, 24.10.2006: Key Statistics of Food and Agriculture External Trade. Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Statistics Division.  http://www.fao.org/es/ess/toptrade/trade.asp?dir=exp&country=3&ryear=2004andhttp://www.fao.org/es/ess/top/country.html?lang=en 

    - IFOAM & FiBL (2006): The World of Organic Agriculture. Statistics and Emerging Trends 2006. International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), Bonn & Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FIBL, Frick, pp. 108-117. 


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