Agricultural Sector of Indonesia Has Not Been Ready Yet to Confront AEC 2015

Indonesian people would confront ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in the end of 2015. The ASEAN Community would alleviate flow of goods, capital flows, and current workforce among ASEAN countries. Other ASEAN countries would also have business occasions in Indonesia, and vice versa. Nevertheless, one of the economic sectors in Indonesia, namely agriculture sector, has not been ready yet to face AEC.

The aforementioned paragraph was the main idea of a national seminar of “Optimizing Local Resources to Confront AEC 2015”. The national seminar was organized by Agribusiness Department, Faculty of Agriculture, Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta (UMY) cooperating with Indonesian Agricultural Economic Association (PERHEPI) of Komda DIY. It was conducted on Saturday (23/5) in meeting hall of A.R. Fachruddin A, Floor 5, UMY.

In a remark, head of PERHEPI of Komda DIY Prof. Dr. Ir. Masyhuri uttered that the seminar aimed at finding out the extent to which Indonesian people are ready for ASEAN Economic Community, particularly for agricultural sector. For instance, agricultural productivity in Hanoi Vietnam is three more times advanced than in Indonesia. “If we notice and learn from several years ago from 2009 to 2012, Indonesian contribution of agricultural products to ASEAN countries was not significant. Exports of agricultural products to ASEAN for the recent 5 years have not displayed yet the significant development compared to the exports to non ASEAN because Indonesia still focuses on two main destination of the agricultural export, which are Malaysia and Singapore,” he stated.

Moreover, Rector of UMY Prof. Dr. Bambang Cipto, M.A., conveyed that Indonesian economy of agricultural field has not been optimized better than Asian countries. Thus, it is necessary managing the agriculture well since it is one of the sector which might assist Indonesian development, witnessing the agricultural areas in Indonesia. “Indonesian agricultural sector is supposed to be developed and managed well. Indonesian economy relies on agricultural sector besides UKM (Small and Medium Enterprises) and both are the safest economic sectors,” he asserted.

Head of HERHEPI Dr. Ir. Bayu Kinamurthi, M.Si. agreed with Prof. Bambang Cipto. He mentioned four pillars of AEC namely a single market and production base, a competitive economic region, equitable economic development, and integration with the global economy. He contended that equitable economic development should be improved. In the third pillar, economic sector concerns with the development and reinforcement of UKM by expanding networks among UKMs to construct areas of production and distribution. Additionally, it needs to undertake the best practices on fostering UKM including funding.

“Indonesian people are threatened by ASEAN Economic Community. However, ASEAN community especially in economic sector has been carried out without waiting for the end of 2015. What we have to do now is improving and developing the economy such as UKM and agriculture, and we ought to utilize all of them to gain what we want,” he elucidated.

Furthermore, Dr. Ir. Johnny Walker Situmorang, M.S., a keynote researcher of Ministry of KUKM RI (Ministry of Cooperatives and SMEs of Republic of Indonesia), told that there were 8 Mutual Recognition Arrangements (MRA) in service sector agreed in ASEAN, namely Engineering Services, Nursing Services, Architectural services, Tourism Profesional, Accountancy services, Medical Practitioners, and Dental Practitioners. MRA is an agreement of all ASEAN countries to recognize several or all aspects. “MRA is employed to ease movement of professional workers among countries, particularly in market integrity by maintaining the characteristics of each country,” he informed.

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