Benefits of seaweed cultivation for Indonesian economy

Jakarta (ANTARA) – American musician Davendra Banhart once said in an interview that it would be nice to be a seaweed since all it does is float in the water.

Seaweed, much like the grass on the ground, is often underestimated by people. This is despite the fact that the commodity has a variety of uses in their daily lives.

Indonesia is blessed with abundant seaweed reserves. The seaweed habitat in Indonesia is known to have reached 1.2 million hectares, making it the largest in the world.

In fact, Indonesia’s seaweed reserves are estimated to account for 8.6 percent of the total biota in the oceans.

Seaweed can not only be used as a food, it can also be used as a raw material in the cosmetics industry, such as for making gels. It can even be put to medicinal use by the pharmaceutical industry.

According to the Director General of Marine and Fishery Product Competitiveness at the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry Artati Widiarti, seaweed innovation can be used to tackle several global issues such as plastic waste and climate change, which can be an opportunity for entrepreneurs in the marine sector.

For instance, seaweed can be processed into bioplastic, which can be used to replace the plastic packages presently in use, she said.

Research has shown that the use of asparagopsis taxiformis seaweed in the feed of ruminants, such as cows, can reduce methane gas emissions, she noted.

Widiarti said that she has, on several occasions, urged the public and entrepreneurs in the marine and fishery sector to be more invested in exploring the potential of seaweed. Indonesia is rich in macro-algae, with 89 familia, 268 genus, and 911 species recorded in its oceans, based on data from the Institute of Sciences’ Oceanography Research Center, she pointed out.

Red algae (Rhodophyta) is among the seaweeds that grow in the largest profusion in Indonesia’s oceans, with 265 species recorded so far, followed by green algae (Cholorophyta) with 201 species, and brown algae (Ochrophyta) with 146 species.

Such a variety of seaweeds is a blessing that must be taken advantage of to support the nation’s economy, provide jobs, raise foreign exchange, as well as provide food and nutrition, Widiarti said.

To this end, the ministry’s Cultivation Director General Tb Haeru Rahayu has stated that his agency is committed to raising the production of seaweed commodity since it has a broad market, both domestic and international, to boost the economy.

Due to this broad market, seaweed can be the nation’s primary commodity for cultivation, he said.

Especially since Indonesia is the second largest seaweed producer next to China, with exports reaching 195.574 ton in 2020, valued at US$279.58 million.

The ministry has improved the performance of cultivated seaweed seed through a variety of innovations to create quality seeds. It has also managed to develop seed using plant tissue isolation method and will continue to improvise for other species such as the saccule strain, he said.

In addition, it has also developed seaweed cultivation areas by optimizing promising land located in Indonesia’s eastern regions, such as East Nusa Tenggara, he added.

In the seaweed cultivation areas, seaweed villages will be built using eco-friendly technology in order to sustain and raise the prosperity of citizens. By utilizing and emphasizing synergy between innovation and industry, KKP believes that Indonesia can become a main player in the world seaweed industry.

Challenges

Despite the promising potential, there are a number of challenges to cultivating seaweed.

For instance, processing seaweed for products, such as food, cosmetics, as well as spices, can produce a large amount of waste, the ministry’s head of research and human resources Sjarief Widjaja said.

Processing of gracilaria and cottonii seaweed produces 8,174,150 cubic meters of liquid waste and 62,506 tons of solid waste per year.

This is why, in the effort to process seaweed, we should not create new problems, both for the industry and the environment, Widjaja cautioned.

The large amount of waste generated while processing seaweed can be recycled for other uses. For instance, liquid waste can be used as liquid fertilizer, while solid waste can be used as a raw material in ceramics, particle boards, fertilizers, and even light bricks.

According to executive director of Maritime Research Center for Humanity, Abdul Halim, the policy for implementing maritime sector innovations, such as producing bioplastic from seaweed, needs to be accompanied by other technical training measures to allow residents to cultivate it on a large scale.

The accompanying measures must be undertaken with the right approach that is also sustainable.

By focusing the program on increasing public’s technical knowledge and developing citizens’ prosperity, the program will be more accurate and beneficial in the future.

Due to the variety of benefits that seaweed provides, let us hope that it could not just assist in the nation’s economic recovery, but also contribute significantly to the global economy.

Source: Antara News

Local Fruit Festival to revive fruit demand, economy

Jakarta (ANTARA) – The Local Fruit Festival (GBN) 2021 event is aimed at reviving demand for local fruits to support the growth of the national economy, Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto said.

At the opening of GBN 2021 here on Monday, the minister said that the event would help make the demand for the nation’s fruit thrive not only domestically, but also internationally.

He also expressed the hope that the event would serve as a marketing platform and raise the public’s awareness on eating local fruits.

Farming is the second largest sector after the processing industry in Indonesia and has shown consistent growth of 0.38 percent in 2020 as well as in the second quarter of 2021, Hartarto said.

The demand for fruits has also increased amid the COVID-19 pandemic, both domestically and internationally, due to their immunity-boosting benefit, he noted.

“This shows the sector’s resiliency, how its presence is needed in every condition, and how it continues to provide a positive contribution to the economy’s growth,” the minister remarked.

Horticulture is a sub-sector that has the potential to grow, he noted. The government has continued to push horticultural exports, while also resolving regulations that stalled it.

Indonesia’s horticultural exports touched 645.8 thousand tons in 2020, a 37.75-percent increase compared to 2019, Hartarto disclosed.

The increase was dominated by fruit exports, which reached 389.9 thousand tons, a 30.31-percent increase compared to 2019, he added.

Indonesia’s five primary fruit export destinations are China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan, he noted.

Source: Antara News

Vaccination key to economic, tourism recovery: MPR speaker

Jakarta (ANTARA) – Speaker of the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR RI) Bambang Soesatyo, stressed the importance of vaccination to ending the COVID-19 pandemic in Indonesia.

Besides protecting recipients from being infected by the virus, a high vaccination rate will also enable economic recovery, especially in regions dependent on the tourism industry, such as Bali, Soesatyo said on Monday.

“Bank Indonesia’s Bali office recorded a slight increase of 2.83 per cent in Bali’s economic development in the second quarter of 2021, compared to a decline of 9.82 per cent in the previous quarter,” he said in a statement that ANTARA received in Jakarta.

Economic recovery is linked to the high vaccination rate in Bali, which is currently the province with the second-highest vaccination rate nationwide, he noted.

During his visit to observe a vaccination drive in Klungkung District along with the district head, I, Nyoman Suwirta, Susatyo stated support from the public and police-military personnel is key to accelerating the vaccination efforts.

“Therefore, the COVID-19 vaccination drive could be accelerated to increase the number of recipients at vaccination points,” he stressed.

Out of Indonesia’s total population of 208.2 million, some 50,497,940 residents have already received their first dose, and 23,777,323 have completed their second vaccine shot, according to the National COVID-19 Task Force.

Bali Province’s COVID-19 Task Force also recorded, as of August 8, around 3.089 million local residents have received their first vaccine dose, and another 1.086 million residents have completed their second shot, out of the province’s total population of 4.32 million.

A total of 4.868 million vaccine doses has been provided, with current remaining stocks numbering 1.215 million doses.

Source: Antara News

IISMA aims to transform students into global citizens: govt

Jakarta (ANTARA) – The Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology stated on Monday that the Indonesian International Students Mobility Award (IISMA) is aimed to transform its awardees into global citizens.

“IISMA is a collaboration between the ministry and the Endowment Fund for Education (LPDP) in creating global citizens. One of the most important skills in the 21st century is to have a global outlook,” said Nizam, the ministry’s director-general of higher education, research and technology, at the IISMA 2021 event.

The students sent to 31 countries to study in world-class universities should create international friendships and networks so that their advancement and innovation can be achieved together, he said.

“I hope you can be the nation’s ambassadors who introduce Indonesia’s culture to your friends abroad. Introduce them Indonesia’s friendliness, diversity, tourism, natural beauty, and food,” Nizam stressed.

This former dean of Gadjah Mada University’s Engineering Faculty also hoped the students would study hard during the exchange program and continue their education to a higher level. “I also advise you to continue complying with health protocols. Even though you are in developed nations, you still need to comply with the protocols because you are not only representing yourselves but also the nation,” Nizam said.

He then said goodbye to the students while praying for their success.

Meanwhile, Dwi Larso, LDPD’s Scholarship Director, said a nation will advance if it has educated citizens who love their nation, have integrity, and are honest so that they do not fall into corruption.

“Around 64 percent of the perpetrators of corruption in Indonesia are educated. We do not want intellectuals like that,” Larso stressed and hoped that the students would continue to think and act optimistically to help better the nation.

Source: Antara News

Social Affairs Minister to replace low quality rice

Jakarta (ANTARA) – The low quality rice available through social aid would be replaced immediately with new rice of better quality, Social Affairs Minister Tri Rismaharini has assured.

She had received some complaints from beneficiaries about the bad quality of the rice, she admitted.

“I already got the reports. There are some cases where the rice was not so good. But the amount was so little compared to the good quality rice. If there are bad ones, for example, (we will) immediately replace them with new ones,” she said in a written statement received here, Monday.

She noticed the issue while monitoring a social aid allocation event aimed at people affected by the restriction of community activities.

The distribution of the rice involved several parties, each with their own task, the minister stated.

“For the 10 kg rice as social assistance, the Social Affairs Minister plays a role in submitting the data of beneficiaries to the Finance Ministry. Meanwhile, the rice would be provided and distributed by the State Logistics Agency (Bulog),” Rismaharini elaborated.

The distribution of 5 kg rice aid was under the authority of the regional government, which was carried out by the social affairs offices, she said. “Local governments through social affairs offices are given the authority to distribute rice. The offices are also authorized to ensure the quality of medium-type rice is in good condition when it is received by the public,” she said.

The social affairs office was also authorized to directly ask the provider for compensation if the quality of the rice was not satisfactory, she added.

The minister lauded local governments for their cooperation and response. Through social programs such as the Family Hope Program (PKH) and the District Social Welfare Personnel (TKSK), they sought to immediately replace the low quality rice.

The government distributes rice as social aid during the implementation of community activities restriction (PPKM). The 10 kg of rice was distributed to 10 million PKH beneficiary families, 10 million beneficiary families of cash transfer program (BST), and 8.8 million beneficiary families of Non-Cash Food Aids (BPNT)/Sembako Cards.

Source: Antara News

Indonesian govt pushes for more women in industrial sector

Jakarta (ANTARA) – The Industry Ministry has said it is preparing female human resources (HR) for the industrial sector who can master the latest technologies to support innovation and increase productivity in the sector to help it compete globally.

“This strategic step is in accordance with the priority programs in the Making Indonesia 4.0 roadmap. We are ready to develop reliable human resources who can keep up with the current development of the 4.0 industry,” Head of Industrial Human Resources Development at the Industry Ministry, Arus Gunawan, said.

Skilled human resources are key for boosting industry capabilities, aside from investment and technology, he pointed out in Jakarta on Monday.

“In this case, Indonesia has a large capital from the availability of productive human resources, given it is enjoying a demographic bonus period until 2030,” he said.

Under Making Indonesia 4.0, the nation is targeting to be among the 10 countries with the strongest economies in the world by 2030, he said. Therefore, the Industry Ministry has initiated many programs and activities related to industrial vocational education, he added.

Gunawan also said his agency has been encouraging several parties to strengthen Indonesian human resources, particularly in the industrial sector.

“With collaboration among stakeholders, the desired goals will be more easily implemented and on target,” he added.

One such collaboration was a webinar themed ‘Gender Responsive Vocational Education’, he informed. It was jointly held by the Industrial Human Resources Development Agency of the Industry Ministry and Prospera (Indonesia-Australia partnership program for the economy).

The webinar was aimed to highlight the strategic role of women in national development, particularly in the development of industrial vocational education, he added.

Meanwhile, Head of Industrial Vocational Education Development at the Industry Ministry Iken Retnowulan said Prospera has carried out a gender-based assessment of education units within the Industrial Human Resources Development Agency by conducting an initial analysis of data on lecturers, teachers and students, as well as study programs.

“The results of the data review will later be used as a basis for further policy-making for the development of industrial vocational in accordance with industry needs, especially in terms of realizing gender equality in various study programs so that female graduates who work in the industrial sector also become contributors in increasing GDP in Indonesia,” she explained.

Retnowulan deemed gender equality necessary in Indonesia002E “According on the McKinsey Global Institute Report (2015), a 10-percent growth in gender equality is believed to be able to increase GDP by US$135 million in 2025 compared to business-as-usual conditions,” she said.

According to Eni Widiyanti from the Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection Ministry, the role of women in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) field is still lacking. Women are also less involved in the technology sector, she noted.

“According to data from Statistics Indonesia (BPS), there were around 57 percent of women who left their jobs (in the sector). Thus, we need a flexible future job design to help women in doing their jobs,” Widiyanti stressed.

Meanwhile, lead advisor of Markets Prospera, Julia Tijaja, said that the digital potential can be optimized for traditional sectors, such as for ensuring higher women’s participation in vocational education.

“In the future, the participation of the industry will be very important. This collaboration is something we need to optimize,” he explained.

Julia said he expects the efforts made by the Industry Ministry and its partners to increase the role of women in supporting industrial growth, driving the household economy, and forming a young generation with a strong character.

Source: Antara News

Indonesia can become a ‘very easy country’ to conduct business: govt

President Joko Widodo expects Indonesia to move to the “very easy category” in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index.

“Indonesia ranks 73rd out of 190 countries in the World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 Report, meaning we have been classified as easy. However, we still have to improve on this achievement,” he said while launching the risk-based Online Single Submission (OSS) system of the Ministry of Investment on Monday.

Bahlil Lahadalia, Minister of Investment, and Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Minister of Finance, also attended the event.

“The key is to reform permission issuance as business leaders need convenient services. A fast, integrated, and simple process will increase our competitiveness in attracting investment. I believe this will have a significant impact on our national and regional economic recovery,” President Widodo noted.

“Every business will have different permissions based on their risk level. The system will issue permits for high-risk businesses, while medium-risk ones will get licenses. Meanwhile, low-risk business will be given identification numbers,” he added. He then encouraged domestic and foreign business leaders and investors to use the service, to increase their investments and create more job opportunities.

OSS was introduced in March 2021 by the ministry, in cooperation with PT. Indosat, Tbk. The system application is based on the Government Regulation Number 5/2021 on the Implementation of Risk-based Business Permission, in accordance with Job Creation Law Number 11/2020.

The World Bank’s Doing Business 2020 Report is a research study conducted to measure the enforcement of business regulations in 190 countries. Indonesia scored 69.2 points in the report.

The report also surveyed 20 cities in Indonesia and found that Yogyakarta is the easiest place to start a business, while Balikpapan has the most efficient construction permit issuance process. Business leaders also enjoy the most efficient property registration service in Bandung.

Source: Antara News

Empowering Papuan human resources crucial: minister

Jakarta (ANTARA) – Social Affairs Minister Tri Rismaharini emphasized the importance of empowering Papuan human resources while distributing assistance to the local community on Saturday.

“It is crucial for Papuan children to have access to education and vocational training,” she said.

The minister made the statement while visiting two human resources empowerment centers — the Indonesian Cross-Cultural Institute Complex and the Maga Education Papua office — on Saturday.

She also visited refugees of the 2019 Sentani flash flood at the Palomo refugee camp, Sentani. She interacted with children living at the camp by reading stories and asking questions.

She motivated the children and youth to remain optimistic, saying they should not let their current situation be an obstacle to their efforts to improve their lives.

“Where there is a will, there is a way,” she emphasized.

During her visit she also reviewed the location where 76 houses would be built for the refugees to provide them better living conditions.

Furthermore, Rismaharini disbursed several types of aid totaling Rp949.9 million. The aid comprised accessibility aids, cattle farming assistance, entrepreneurship assistance, essential needs aids, kiosk business assistance, as well as masks and vitamins aids.

She distributed an additional 2,540 masks and vitamin aid packages for people in Jayapura city and district. The aid for other regions will be distributed later by state-owned post service provider PT Pos Indonesia.

Meanwhile, as part of its assistance for the preparations of the 20th National Sports Week, the ministry distributed five screen printing units, one personal computer unit along with a color printer, 10 dozen T-shirts, as well as children’s storybooks.

Source: Antara News