Thu, 30 Nov 2000

House okays crop varieties bill

JAKARTA (JP): House of Representatives Commission III on agriculture, forestry, and maritime and fishing affairs officially approved on Wednesday a bill on crop variety protection, the first of its kind here.

The move will open the way for the passage of the bill into law.

"The main purpose of the bill is to increase agricultural productivity, to protect researchers and their research and to revive agribusinesses," Ahmed Arief, a commission member and also a member of the Special Committee which drafted the bill, told The Jakarta Post.

The idea for such a bill, Achmad said, emerged five years ago but it is only now that the draft has come to fruition as many were unaware of the importance of such a bill.

"The draft is important to protect our resources and to produce more crop varieties," he said.

According to Achmad, under the bill researchers and their research will be protected and they will be given patent rights.

"Hopefully, crop research will increase and we can produce more prime seeds at lower prices," he said.

It's such an irony, he added, that this country is still importing rice, vegetables and fruit while our resources are so abundant.

"The last time we had self-sufficiency in rice was during the 1984-1985 period. And now we're still importing rice, vegetables and fruit. It's very ironic because we're such a diverse country in terms of natural resources," said Achmad.

The bill, Achmad added, is also aimed at rearranging the agriculture system, including seed distribution, infrastructure, and agricultural production aids such as fertilizer, pesticides and equipment. (hdn)