A Note From Agriculture Counsellor Joost van Uum
It has been two years since COVID-19 hit the world and slowed down everything, including our activities at the embassy. Since we are gradually returning to a normal situation, I am happy that now more meetings and events can be done face-to-face. In particular, I would like to highlight our long-awaited trade mission to North Sumatra. After postponing it three times, this physical mission was finally held from May 18 to 20!
Joined by 14 agricultures companies and institutions and 4 renewable energy companies, the mission aimed to explore the potential collaboration between North Sumatra and the Netherlands in agriculture and renewable energy sectors. Together with the delegates, we started the mission in Medan with a courtesy visit to high officials from the provincial government of North Sumatra. This continued with the seminar titled “Strengthening of Trade and Investment between North Sumatra and the Netherlands: Post Pandemic Actions”. More than 60 Indonesian participants from public and private stakeholders attended the event.
While the renewable energy companies continued the program with a visit to Belawan Port to discuss the potential cooperation in floating solar, together with a team and delegates in agriculture, we travelled to Humbang Hasundutan. The visit to Humbang Hasundutan attempted to match the expertise and capabilities of the Dutch delegation with the local needs for the food estate development. The government of Indonesia aims to increase national food production through the development of food estates in specific areas, among others in North Sumatra, including but not limited to the district Humbang Hasandutan. The ambition is to develop here a food estate of 11,500 ha aimed at the production of horticulture crops. Because the Netherlands has a broad experience in horticulture, agricultural development and food system transformations across the globe, it makes sense to focus the trade mission for agriculture on this food estate and to pursue our sustainable agriculture agenda while seeking opportunities for the Dutch agro-food and water sectors. Furthermore, the food estate in Humbang Hasundutan can serve as a showcase for other food estates across Indonesia and may result in opportunities to establish multi-annual collaboration between the Netherlands and Indonesia.
We were grateful for the warm welcome from the regent of Humbang Hasundutan, Bpk. Dosmar Banjarnahor. During the two-day program in the region, the delegates had opportunities to connect with the local stakeholders and get first-hand insight through seminar and field visits. Some of the arranged field visits, such as to the food estate areas, Herbal and Horticultural Science and Technology Park, and vocational school, SMKN 1 Pagaran. At the end of the program, the delegates also had a breakout session to discuss their observations on food estates and elaborate on the potential collaboration. It was agreed that there are opportunities for the Netherlands to work together in the field of training & capacity building, research & development and demonstration. In the coming period ideas have to be translated into proposals and the right financing means will be sought.
After all, this mission was fruitful!
Well, more information about our other exciting activities will come to you in the upcoming newsletter. Stay tuned! For now, enjoy the reading!
Joost van Uum