Sat, 01 Apr 2000

Government to establish Agrotourism complex

JAKARTA (JP): In a move to help traders survive the continuing slump in business, the city administration is planning to develop the Flower and Decorative Plants Promotion Center in Rawa Belong, West Jakarta, into an Agrobusiness Tourism site, an official said on Friday.

"We plan to develop the area as a tourist destination," the center's head Bambang Wisanggeni said.

The plan will help boost business, especially for the flower trade, which has been on a downward trend since the economic crisis hit the country in mid-1997.

Data at the center shows a decreasing trend in orchid sales which stood at Rp 4.2 billion in 1997 and fell to Rp 3.3 billion in 1998. While for subtropical flowers (including roses) the sales were recorded at Rp 8.4 billion in 1997 and dropped to Rp 7.2 billion in 1998. Bambang said the numbers had picked up slightly in 1999.

He said the project will also enhance the city's tourism.

"The project will benefit from the area's popular image as a hotbed for decorative plants," he said.

Bambang said the idea had gotten the City Development Planning Board's approval. "We'll also coordinate with the City Tourism Agency."

Aside from the Agrotourism project, the center plans to finish its current project of establishing an area for decorative plants in May, ahead of the upcoming exhibition by the City Agricultural Agency which is slated for the middle of this year.

Bambang emphasized the importance of increasing farmers' participation in exhibitions, a move that will help them widen their marketing networks.

The center will continue to provide information for farmers in sorting, grading and packaging the cut-flowers prior to distribution.


Bambang said the center was considering the idea of organizing campaigns persuading people to buy flowers, a move which would help flower farmers immensely.

"We get the cut-flowers from various farmers, including from Central and East Java."

He said farmers were seriously hit by the economic crisis as supplies were constant but the number of buyers had dropped significantly.

He praised some farmers for their cleverness by selling dried flowers processed from the piles of unsold fresh flowers.

"They develop their own ways to dry the flowers, but since they have little knowledge of the process, they use certain kinds of flowers which do not need delicate handling and a complex drying process," he said.

His office would help develop methods to dry delicate flowers, such as roses, Bambang added. (06)