A Litoria frog, which uses a loud ringing song to call for a mate, was discovered in a rainforest during a Conservation International (CI) led Rapid Assessment Program (RAP) expedition of Papua New Guinea's highlands wilderness in 2008 is pictured in this undated handout photo. REUTERS/Steve Richards/Conservation International/Handout
Monday, December 25, 2006
USAID to help agribusiness to tune of $13.75m
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will provide aid worth US$13.75 million over three years in the form of equipment and technical assistance to help the government develop the agribusiness sector, it was announced Thursday.
The scheme, called the Agribusiness Market and Support Activities (AMARTA) program, will be implemented through USAID's main office in Jakarta, as well as its regional offices in Medan, Makassar and Denpasar, in partnership with the U.S.-based development consulting firm, Development Alternatives Inc.
"USAID has awarded a contract to Development Alternatives Inc., of the state of Maryland, to implement the AMARTA project. So, these funds will be disbursed via Development Alternatives Inc," David J. Anderson, chief of party of AMARTA, said Thursday during the launch of the program in Jakarta.
Each office will forge cooperation with the private sector, industry associations, the government, NGOs, chambers of commerce and industry and other stakeholders for the purpose of jointly developing the agribusiness sector in Indonesia, said David.
Under the program, eight sectors would be prioritized: cocoa, coffee, high-value horticultural products (fruit and vegetables), fishing, spices, biofuels and livestock.
"The ultimate goal is to improve productivity and the quality of products so as to ensure better market access," said William M. Frej, USAID's mission director.
Qualitywise, Indonesia's cocoa, for instance, is between 60 and 70 percent below international market standards.
"One of the aims of this project is to improve the quality of the cocoa exported to the U.S. so that we can secure incentive bonuses, rather than a 10 percent reduction from the normal price," said Syukur Iwantoro, head of the Agricultural Quarantine Unit at the Agriculture Ministry.
"After finishing our assessments, we will have identified the primary interventions for the program in collaboration with the stakeholders by the end of 2007," said Anderson.
In general, the AMARTA program will provide assistance such as training, capacity-building, consultation, promotion and facilitation in the agribusiness sector.