Indonesia Seed Industry News 2020

This page features a compilation and selection of Indonesian seed industry news briefs, summaries and leads, with an emphasis on events that impact or affect provinces, regions, counties, cities and locales in the Republic of Indonesia

The news covers trends and events regarding seed regulation, testing, legislation, phytosanitary issues, intellectual property rights, biotechnology (genomics, gene-editing) plant breeding, agronomy and cropping, with original sources linked.

This page will be updated throughout the year, with most recent briefs listed first.

May 2020

Seeds of high-yielding, drought-tolerant maize varieties for East Nusa Tenggara 

To reinforce food and livelihood security of cattle ranchers and corn farmers during the ongoing Covid-19 stranglehold on the economy, the Ministry of Agriculture’s Cereals Plant Research Institute is distributing 15 tonnes of drought-tolerant maize seed to farmers in East Nusa Tenggara. The seed includes five varieties developed by the Agricultural Research and Development Agency. Yields average between 12 and 13.6 tonnes per hectare. Antara News reports

Pangdeglang receives 10 tonnes of maize seed

The Pandeglang District Agriculture Office, in the Banten Regency on the island of Java, is distributing superior hybrid corn seeds to farmers to accelerate corn planting. Assistance from the Ministry of Agriculture (called ‘Kementan’) amounts to 10.2 tonnes — sufficient for ​​680 hectares (ha). The accelerated planting results from a directive by the Minister of Agriculture (called ‘Mentan’), Syahrul Yasin Limpo, in anticipation of a world food crisis.

Crops, planting data for Maros, South Sulawesi 

Areas under cultivation in the Maros Regency of Indonesia’s South Sulawesi Province have reached 26,205 hectares, with predicted production of 295,800 tons. The April-September target is 20,000 ha, of which 65 percent has now been reached. Specifically, in May, approximately 7,000 ha of the 8,312 ha target was reached — or approximately 84 percent. Planting will continue until the end of May. The rice fields planted are irrigated, with twice-yearly harvests, and average yields of 6 tonnes per ha. South Sulawesi plantings cover an area of ​​115 thousand hectares, with 86.5 thousand hectares of paddy. 9,500 hectares have been developed for dry land cultivation; 17,000 for swamp land cultivation; and 1,450 for residual free rice cultivation. Under a government program allocating rice seed assistance for 2 million ha, 1,200 ha in the Maros Regency are assisted. 

BPTP Kepri chili cultivation innovation

BPTP Kepri (the Assessment Institute for Agricultural Technology Indonesia) is providing technical guidance to chili farmers, including farm visits, with the aim of increasing production. Assistance in Tanjung Pinang, on the island of Bintan in the Riau Islands, began with the planting season last December and lasted through May. Technical guidance was carried out four times: before planting, during planting, while growing, and at harvest. Field visits occurred roughly once a week, depending on crop conditions. Monitoring was carried out also via phone apps. Co-op farmers were provided technical manuals for chili cultivation. The half-hectare demonstration plot featured: soil management; fertilizer fermentation on land for a minimum of 21 days’ mulch use; seedbeds treated with pesticides and fungicides; integrated pest and disease control; basic and supplementary fertilization on vegetation; and generative methods for leaching, watering and harvesting. On 17 May, 4,112 kg of green chili had been harvested, with another 600 kg of red chili still in the field.

Women’s group develops organic chilis 

Some 40 women in the hamlet of Takedan, on the island of Bali, are developing various organic fruits and vegetables on a 2-acre plot as a hedge against food shortages during the Covid-19 pandemic. Their demonstration plot was initiated in 2019, thereafter receiving help from the central government for nurseries and development of organic plants. The women mostly visit their gardens afternoons after finishing housework. Plants grow well in the cool weather — chilis notably well, but also eggplant, bitter melon, and cucumber. Their crops, say the women, have eased household expenses during the Covid-19 pandemic and afforded confidence that they will always have enough to meet needs in the kitchen.

Gardening in Klungkung as a hedge against Covid-19

Orders are flooding into nurseries in Klungkung on the island of Bali as people take to gardening as a hedge against food shortages during the pandemic. Popular items include chili seed. The Puspa Sari Women’s Farmers Group chairman in Tusan Village says there are quite a lot of orders for plant seeds from residents: “Many workers who were laid off — rather than remaining stunned — have started gardening,” she said.

Preserving cassava’s genetic wealth locally

In October 2019, BPTP Kepri (the Assessment Institute for AgriculturalTechnology Indonesia) and associated agencies began collecting genetic information on varieties of cassava local to Bintan and the Riau Islands. As a result, “several local superior varieties are being developed, including varieties of Monggo Bintani, Bintani Heart, Sapat Hitam Gemilang and Sappat Putih Gemilang… on cassava plantations…[covering] 50 ha…[and] the cassava harvest will be in August 2020.”

South Sumatra and the Banyuasin Regency brace for food security

Banyuasin Regency in South Sumatra is one district capable of maintaining food security despite challenges arising from the Covid-19 plague. The regency contributes  up to 33% of South Sumatra’s food supply, and is important nationally. As a result, plantings have been accelerated to meet anticipated needs. The target is to plant 53,013 hectares from April to September 2020. Agricultural land in Banyuasin covers 174,371 hectares including 148,658 hectares in tidal swamps and 25,713 hectares in lebak swamps. The total area of agricultural land available in South Sumatra Province is around 510,557 hectares.

North Sumatra’s North Tapanuli Regency maize seed distribution 

The government in North Tapanuli Regency (Taput), North Sumatra distributed 154,500 kilograms of corn seeds to 447 farmer groups in 11 districts for planting on ​​10,300 hectares as part of a national food security program. Agriculture officers are expected to innovate and build enthusiasm among farmers as means of building food and livestock security, supported by mechanization, a good location, planting season and cropping patterns.

Installation of bamboo trellises and railings to combat Covid-19

The Task Force (Satgas) Food Security Covid-19 Lantamal VI is building bamboo rails and trellises to aid in propagating pumpkin, tomatoes, chili and string beans, among other vegetables, in Biringkanaya District, Makassar. Land is first hoed to clear weeds, then plowed using a tractor, and some thousands of cassava seedlings planted. To propagate the vegetables, bamboo slits, with a height of 1.5 – 2 meters, are placed close to the planting hole, to keep the plants from spreading out.

Cultivating strawberry to keep Covid-19 at bay

To show what can be achieved even during a pandemic, government workers in the Humbang Hasundutan Regency (Humbahas) are planting strawberry which successfully bears fruit on a narrow strip of land around their headquarters using plastic bags and organic Bios 41 fertilizer.

Covid-19 food security through greenhouses and aquaponics

Efforts to maintain and improve food security by government during the pandemic in Timur District include using vacant land to grow produce and building fish ponds. Elsewhere, the Central Kalimantan Regional Police food security program included building a greenhouse at Command Headquarters (Mako) in Ditpolairud Belanti Village. It is touted as “a breakthrough in maggot cultivation”. Meanwhile, aquaponic fisheries have been created at the Polairud headquarters in East Kotawaringin.

April 2020

Dharmasraya paddy a surplus thanks to good seeds

The agriculture office of the Dharmasraya Regency has assured there will be sufficient rice supply in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. According to Langgam Indonesia, 8 thousand hectares of paddy fields had been sown in the regency through to April 2020, which is anticipated to yield 40 thousand tonnes of grain. To increase production, the Dept of Agriculture has supported farmers with “superior seeds”, including one special variety (M70D) which is touted to yield 8.8 tonnes per hectare, about double standard yields, with ongoing trials looking to increase this further. 

Purworejo farmers distributed certified superior rice, corn and soya seeds

Initiatives to address food security during the covid-19 pandemic are being carried out in the Purworejo Regency in the form of staple grain seed support. According to KRJOGJA.com, officials have distributed rice seeds for the second planting season of 2020, which will be used to plant 4,000 hectares. Furthermore, the government has allocated a budget to increase corn production with a target of 2,664 hectares of landowners. In addition, soybean cultivation programs will also be distributed to an area of ​​1,000 hectares in 16 districts.

‘Bio-soy’ varieties to fortify food security

‘Biosoy’ is a highlight of Indonesia’s  latest efforts to attain food self-sufficiency, with the Agriculture Research and Development Agency procuring soybean seeds for distribution in five target provinces: Central Java, Yagyakarta, East Java, West Nusa Tenggara and South Sulawesi. The seeds reportedly can deliver plants that yield 3.5 tonnes per hectare, up to 18% higher than the usual, reports Antara News

Ministry of Ag released ‘superior’ cotton seeds

Republika Indonesia reports that the Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture has released several new high-yielding and high-fibre “superior” varieties of cotton, citing the need and push to strengthen the local industry which has been plagued by low productivity

Maize harvest in South Sulawesi satisfactory

Sulselinfo.com reports that the governor of South Sulawesi has confirmed the satisfaction of successful trials of two hybrid maize varieties in Soppeng Regency and Bantaeng Regency. 

RGL tangerines in high demand

Tangerines from Bermani Ulu Raya District, in the Rejang Lebong Regency of  Bengkulu are enjoying strong demand and high prices for farmers. According to Republika Indonesia, usually farmgate prices for the citrus fruit would be falling, but since March the area has been the center of “superior tangerine production” especially for the the Rimau Gerga Lebong (RGL) variety, which has has enjoyed strong preference in the increasingly immune-boosting conscious market. Accordingly, no less than 500 hectares of RGL tangerines have been planted by farmers in their area. Of this, 200 hectares are undergoing harvest through to MAy, with the next harvest season to commence October-November. 

Paddy cultivation bolstered in Riau Islands 

The Anambas Islands regency government is working with provincial officials of the Riau Islands to support rice cultivation preparations in March and April ahead of transplanting, planned for this June, reports local news. In related news, government officials have begun distributing paddy seeds to farmers in a number of districts and subdistricts in the Indragiri Hulu Regency of Riau, on the island of Sumatra, reports Berazam.com 

Disease, pest- resistant paddy varieties released

In early 2020, the Agricultural Research and Development Agency, Indonesian Center for Rice Research (BBPadi) has released new “INPARI 48 BlAS” varieties, which were bred by crossing varieties resistant to brown plant hopper with varieties shown to be resistant to leaf blast disease. The new varieties reportedly have an average yield of MPD of 7.64 tons per hectare with a potential yield of 9.13 tons per hectare. News here.

March 2020

Indonesia govt drafting regulation for regional lockdowns to ensure open access of supplies

The Star Malaysia cites an unamed minister in saying the central government is expediating work on a regulation to stipulate the requirements and procedures for declaring regional lockdowns. The regulation is initiated in accordance with Article 10 of the 2018 Health Quarantine Law. The minister says the planned regulation might urge regions imposing lockdowns to open access for distribution of supplies during the quarantine period.

10 million palm oil farmers could be impoverished by total lockdown

The farmers have appealed to President Joko Widodo not to impose a total lockdown. Widodo said confining people to their homes would not be his priority, but he would focus on urging governors, regents and mayors to provide basic food supplies for people on low incomes, reports UCANews

Onion, garlic shortages 

After onion shipments from China had been reduced in recent months, the price of onion has reportedly rose by a factor of 10, up to as much as 170,000 rupiah per kg, while garlic has reportedly rose up to 55,000 rupiah / kg from 35,000, before stabilizing at 45,000 rupiah. The trade ministry has thus issued permits to import 2,000 tonnes of onions and 90,000 tonnes of garlic, and 2.4 million tonnes of raw sugar, to bring prices down. Last year, Indonesia imported 111,934 tonnes of onions and 465,344 tonnes of garlic, while shipping in 3.96 million tonnes of raw sugar for households and industrie, according to Reuters

50 trillion Rupiah in micro finance to stimulate food crop cultivation

The Ministry of Agriculture has has agreed to cooperate with PT Bank Negara Indonesia in the country’s micro credit program (KUR) to desperse IDR 50 trillion (about 3 billion US$) worth of funds to develop food crop cultivation, such as rice, corn and soybeans, horticulture such as chillies, fruits, as well as plantation commodities such as coffee, cocoa and livestock commodities. Indonesian report here

Dutch Indonesian cooperation in horticulture 

East West Seed Indonesia (EWINDO) received a visit from the Directorate General of Horticulture, Ministry of Agriculture (Kementan) Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality of the Netherlands, Jan-Kees Goet at the head office and main facilities of EWINDO in Purwakarta, West Java. The visit was part of a series of activities during the visit of King Willem-Alexander and Ratu Maxima from the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Indonesia along with 130 Delegations to strengthen the cooperative relations between the Government of Indonesia and the Netherlands in the Economy, including in the agricultural sector, and specifically horticulture.

February 2020

Ministry of Agriculture bolsters paddy seed multiplication

Industry.co.id reports on efforts of Indonesian public sector to support the country’s rice planting targets through certification validation, ‘seed aid’ and seed corporations. According to the article the Ministry of Agriculture has recently been carrying out rice seed certification validation measures in accordance with OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) seed scheme guidelines. Furthermore, the ministry this year is providing assistance to rice seed breeders and multiplication farmers through the distribution of Registered Seed (Benih Pokok). Specifically, 250kg of two varieties of paddy were distributed to multiplication farmers in Purbalingga Regency, while further “seed aid” this year is planned to benefit rice planting across 2.4 million hectares around the country. The article also notes that Seed Corporations were established across the country in 2019 to promote seed self-sufficiency efforts.

Pandeglang Regency rice breeding

Industry.co.in reports on rice breeding activities being carried out across 1,000 ha of land in Pandeglang Regency, as part of a Regional-Based Rice Corporation activity initiated by the Ministry of Agriculture. Breeding sites are centered in two Subdistricts, namely Patia and Sukaresmi with several varieties in focus.

169 tonnes of free paddy seed distributed to Seluma farmer groups

Bengkuluekspress reports on an initiative by the Seluma government in coordination with the Department of Agriculture, under the Ministry of Agriculture to distribute 164.9 tonnes of rice seeds to farmers in the Seluma Regency of Bengkulu Province. According to the article, the rice seeds include 6,030 kg of highland varieties to be planted across ​​352 hectares; 2,650 kg of inland varieties for planting across 106 ha; 152,475 kg o hybrid or non-hybrid varities for ​​6,792 ha and 3,750 kg of organic rice seeds for planting on ​​150 hectares. 

Ministry opens ‘Agriculture War Room’

The Jakarta Post reports on the latest efforts of Indonesia’s Agriculture Ministry to modernize, streamline and advance agricultural productivity through improved management and implementation of data sciences. According to the article the “Agriculture War Room” is a monitoring system that will “generate information on paddy fields, the fertilizer supply and harvest areas using advanced technologies like satellites, the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence.”

Sigi maize center prospects

The Sigi Regency in Central Sulawesi stands to become a major corn production center thanks to a number of seed and cropping initiatives to boost productivity there in the past few years. According to an article on … the Sigi Regency Government has encouraged farmers in 15 sub-districts to focus on maize cultivation, which has high potential thanks to fertile soil suitable for this crop. This year, the Sigi Regency Government will reportedly develop about 5,000 hectares of land for the cultivation of corn, using several select varieties that will be developed in Sigi. Among them include Sumo NK variety, which is developed in the South Dolo District and can yield up to 15 tons per hectare. In 2019​​corn planting in Sigi Regency spanned as much as 10,000 hectares with an estimated production of six tons per hectare. The price of maize at the production level ranges from Rp 2,500 to Rp 3,000 per kg, and can featch up to 7,000/kg at the retail level. Most maize sold at the Palu marke for animal feed.

Boosting chili, onion shallot productivity through quality seeds

The Ministry of Agriculture has announced targets to boost productivity of chili and shallots by 7% annually, every year through to 2024. According to an article on katadata.co.id, the government is encouraging horticulturalists to take advantage of state resources to subsidize and finance crop cultivation of the target commodities. Moreover, the government is promoting the provisioning of superior seed varieties, application of environmentally friendly cultivation technology, irrigation and agricultural machinery. The article provides production figures and targets for chilis and shallots as follows: In 2019, production of large varieties of Indonesian capsicum (cabai besar) reached 1.27 million tons, with planting reported to have spanned 144,391 hectares ub 225 dusrrucrs of 33 provinces???, equating to productivity of 8.77 tons per hectare. The target to increase that to 1.35 million tons in 2020 and 1.77 million tons by 2024.. For smaller Indonesia chilis (Cabai rawit) production in 2019 reached 1.37 million tons, with a target in 2020 of 1.47 million tons and 1.92 million tons by 2024. This was grown across 177,581 hectares in 219 districts of 33 provinces, for productivity of 7.8 tons / hectare. Meanwhile, shallot shallot (Bawang merah) production in 2019 spanned 157,808 hectares in 175 districts of 33 provinces, with productivity averaging 9.62 tons / hectare, for a tottal 1.52 million tons. The target for 2020 is1.66 million tons and 2.13 million tons by 2024.

Superior durian seeds to be distributed to Lebak farmers

Antara Bengkulu reports on plans of a farme group in Sangkanwangi of the Lebak Regency to distribute some 70,000 seeds (buds or scions) of a “superior” variety of durian for farmers to cultivate locally using grafting or budding tehniques. The MK Hortimart durian fruit reportedly fetches between Rp. 250,000 to Rp. 350,000 per kilogram, while the price of the buds/scions are being sold for Rp. 70,000 / stem.

Interest in Porang grows

The cultivation of Porang (Amorphophallus Oncophyllus) is becoming popular amongst some groups in parts of Indonesia. Also on Porang cultivation movements in Sidrab regency, see this article.

December 2019 & January 2020

PVP rights, plant breeding spurs increased ag productivity, output 

Medcom.id reports on PVP and breeding momentum in Indonesia. During the opening of an event to mark ‘Plant Variety Protection Week’ on December 18, 2019 in Jakarta, The Minister of Agriculture, Syahrul Yasin Limpo praised plant breeding and breeders for the continued improvement of agricultural productivity, especially through the development and release of superior varieties, which he said was a key factor for boosting productivity by some 15%. He noted that plant variety development is enabled and ensured in Indonesia through the PVP law (No. 29/2000). To mark the occasion, the minister presented an award to acknowledge the efforts  of breeder and researcher, Achmad Baihaki, who was recognized for devoting himself for decades in advocacy for PVP implementation in Indonesia. Also quoted in the report, Head of the Center for Plant Variety Protection and Agricultural Licensing, Erizal Jamal, said that the number of PVP applications for newly-developed superior varieties continues to increase. Citing targets to increase “various commodities” by a minimum of 7 percent per year, and to triple exports of agricultural products by 2024, the PVP chief said that improved seeds and new, improved varieties would be key to accelerating productivity. 

‘Superior’ new Aceh paddy lines yield national promise

Rice breeding efforts by the Institute of Research and Community Service (Lembaga Penelitian dan Pengabdian Kepada or LPPM) and the Aceh Rice Research Center, Unsyiah in collaboration with the Aceh Agriculture and Plantation Office have yielded a number of promising new, high-yielding, stress-resilient (pest resistance as well as heat/drought tolerance)  and early-maturing rice lines. According to a Serambi News report in Bahasa Indonesia, 538 new lines of Aceh local rice have been bred in a recent 7-year period spanning 2012 to 2019. From these, researchers have selected 15 of the best performing lines in terms of multiple abiotic and biotic stress trials. Average yields from initial trials range from 5.3 to 9.3 tons per hectare. To see and compare how the lines perform in other parts of the country, trials are now being carried out in Southwest Aceh, Aceh Besar, Pidie, Bireun, Malang, Blitar, Jember, and Bali.

High hopes for hybrid maize hub 

Ministry of Agriculture officials together with provincial and district agriculture officers on December 16 presided over a hybrid maize seed (JH 37 research variety) harvesting event at a 60-hectare plot in the East Lampung district of Lampung Regency in South Sumatra. Some 107 hectares of land in Lampung Regency was planted with hybrid maize in 2019, which yielded 623,000 tonnes. and is part of a five-year trial aiming to bolster Indonesian hybrid maize seed capacity.  Beyond Sumatra, also news from Tanah Laut Regency in  South Kalimantan highlights 12.5 hectares harvested as part of three stages within the period. The first stage involves, strengthening farmer groups in the first year. The second focuses on development of farmers’ economic institutions in the third and fourth years.  The third stage will look at strengthening the farmers’ marketing capacity in the final year. Planting was also initiated in November in North Sulawesi on ​​82.4 Ha JH Varieties 37. 

Seed Sampling Training

The Ministry of Agriculture organized a training session for seed sampling officers in South Sulawesit 12 to 14 November. The activity supports strategy to improve capacity in seed sampling and testing officers in a push to promote quality seeds.