In the name of JICA survey on local to local partnership in agriculture between Indonesia and Japan, I brought three persons from Fukushima city to Malang and Batu, East Java, Indonesia, in July 26-28, 2016.
Fukushima and Malang/Batu have the same character as center of fruits production and processing. Fukushima is very famous as production center of peach, pear, apple and other fruits except orange. Malang and Batu are famous as apple, orange, crystal guava, and other tropical fruits.
In Malang and Batu, we discussed with those two local governments about the direction of this supposed partnership and share the philosophy of agriculture in the future. We agreed with farmers-centered agricultural industrialization against strong wave of globalization through market forces.
In other words, the main objective is to improve the position and income of farmers, supported by manufacturers. More focus on sustainability and continuity of interaction between farmers and manufacturers, rather than the increase of production and productivity that are requested by market force.
For example, vacuum fried chips (kripik) are main products of fruit processing in Malang and Batu now. Because of that, the future of kripik is not prospective because more manufacturers will start to produce kripik and more supply of kripik will decline the value of processing. Very difficult to increase the income of farmers. Processing-centered strategies will not always be good result to farmers.
So, my guests from Fukushima requested farmers in Malang and Batu not just satisfy as suppliers of fruits materials for manufacturers, but try to produce qualified fresh fruits against dominant imported fruits in Indonesian market. Food security is the biggest concern of Fukushima after the nuclear power plant accident. Fukushima has made extra hard effort to recover its trust in agriculture market until now.
The key is not only the quality, but also the security of foods and agricultural products. Also, organic products are not always accepted in market if they are not so delicious. Farmers try to produce delicious fruits with paying attention to food security (and may be in organic way). We think this with seeing many small apples in a tree in Batu.
In September, we will invite local government officials from Malang and Batu to Fukushima to see and understand the system of agriculture, mainly of fruits. We will continue to discuss about real partnership building in fruits promotion between Fukushima and Malang/Batu. See the next step.