Antara , Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara | Tue, 05/13/2008 6:43 PM | National

The Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) has allocated A$38 million (about US$35.7 million) toward increasing the earnings and productivity of farmers in four provinces in eastern Indonesia. The four provinces are West Nusa Tenggara, East Nusa Tenggara, South Sulawesi and Southeast Sulawesi.

“The Aus$38 million program is aimed at farmers to help them utilize market opportunities and to increase the added value of their agricultural products,” said AusAID Indonesia’s minister- counselor, Blair Exell, on Tuesday at a peanut harvest in a 420- hectare plantation, a pilot project supported by AusAID in northern Lombok. The project is part of the Australian-Indonesian Partnership program known as the Smallholder Agribusiness Development Initiative (SADI) The program aims to improve farmers access to technology for rural enterprises, improve business practices and address critical constraints such as market access, finance and infrastructure gaps. The funds will go towards promoting efficient production in areas including horticulture and livestock in rural areas of eastern Indonesia. Exell said the program so far has been successfully implemented through three institutions namely the National Program of People Empowerment (PNPM), World Bank Group and Australian Center for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR). PNPM is responsible for the improvement of farmer’s production and marketing, IFC supported entrepreneurship and ACIAR supported the market research. (**)