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Indonesia's Farming Future Lies in High-Tech

Information technology could play a key role in helping revive the Indonesia’s declining agricultural sector, an expert says.

Professor Kudang Boro Seminar, president of the Asian Federation for Information Technology in Agriculture, said on Friday that with the adoption of cutting- edge technologies, the sector could become the main driver of growth in the country.

“Empowering farmers will never happen without the dissemination of IT expertise,” said Kudang, who teaches at the Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB). “The more they understand and use IT, the more modern, competitive and efficient they become.”

He said AFITA’s recently concluded seventh biennial conference, which ran from Oct. 4 to 7 in Bogor, had adopted a resolution to prioritize the dissemination of IT knowledge among farmers in member countries over the next two years.

“The agricultural sector has long been overlooked for the implementation of IT, compared to other sectors,” Kudang said.

“The use of IT is a must nowadays, and that includes in agricultural development.”

He added AFITA had also agreed to present the need for IT among farmers as a necessity rather than a luxury, and to use local agents to reach farmers.

Kudang also urged the government and all stakeholders in the agricultural sector to recognize the urgency of IT adoption in the sector, and change their approach to the issue accordingly.

“IT in agriculture shouldn’t be feared or considered expensive, because the benefits for the development of farmers and the sector at large are huge,” he said.

Kudang was voted president of AFITA at the Bogor conference, and becomes the first Indonesian to head the group.

AFITA’s members comprise farmers and other stakeholders in Indonesia, Japan, China, India, Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Vietnam, East Timor, Iran, Bangladesh, Mongolia, Israel, Pakistan, Laos and Bhutan.

Published on Jakarta Globe October 15, 2010

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