Wed, 02 Aug 2000

Decorative plants center planned

JAKARTA (JP): The administration is to establish a decorative plant center on a 6-hectare plot of land in Meruya Utara, West Jakarta, as a new tourist destination in the capital, an official said on Tuesday.

Head of the Agriculture Agency Srikanti Wiwahari said the construction of the center might begin some time next year. He, however, did not disclose details of the project but said that the administration might firstly spend some Rp 250 million (US$28,000) on preparation for the project, including a field survey.

"This year, we will only focus on preliminary studies on infrastructure and facilities (to be constructed at the site). So, hopefully it will be realized next year," she told The Jakarta Post on the sidelines of a hearing with City Council Commission B on economic affairs.

According to Srikanti, the project was also aimed at nurturing the small-scale decorative plant business of some 150 local residents in the area.

The site is currently being used by the farmers to plant various kinds of trees and flowers for decoration purposes. They include palm trees, cycas, coleus and heliconias.

"We'll continue to encourage Jakarta farmers to plant decorative plants with showy leaves," she said.

Hoping the flowers will become a valuable export commodity, Srikanto pledged to help the Meruya Utara farmers to market the plants by giving them access to promising markets abroad, such as in the Netherlands, Japan and Brunei, through flower importers overseas and the Jakarta Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin).

The business activities in Meruya Utara have also encouraged other locals to run similar businesses, which, in turn, has helped increase their welfare.

Head of the agency's West Jakarta office Siti Fatimah said that the area has been used by the farmers since 1985.

The location is about a 15-minute drive to the agency's decorative plant and flower promotion center in Rawa Belong.

Apart from the proposed Meruya center, the administration also plans to develop similar decorative plant production centers in Koja and Kelapa Gading districts of North Jakarta.

The project, worth Rp 50 million, will commence next year. Both locations are currently empty fields. (lup)