The Jakarta Post, Jakarta
In commemoration of its 50th anniversary, the Indonesian Orchid Association is holding a 10-day exhibition at Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, East Jakarta.
Through April 22, visitors can enjoy a stunning array of orchid varieties, including local varieties such as Dendrobium fatahillah and Coelogyne celebensis, at the amusement park's Purna Bhakti Pertiwi Museum.
Officially opened last Saturday, the exhibition is a meeting place for breeders, collectors and hobbyists.
"I hope that our 2007 Orchid Festival will bring together everyone involved in orchids," association chairwoman Mufidah Jusuf Kalla told Antara during last Saturday's exhibition opening.
Exhibition coordinator Rossi Anton Apriyantono said the festival would showcase Indonesia's latest orchid hybrids, allowing visitors to get in direct contact with producers.
According to Rossi, despite Indonesia's richness of orchid varieties, the country still lags behind neighboring Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand when it comes to gaining a share of the global orchid market.
"Singapore will host the World Orchid Conference for the second time in 2011, while Indonesia has never once been appointed to host the event," Rossi said.
Indonesia's share of the global orchid market stands at about US$1.5 million annually, just a fraction of the total yearly orchid trade of $250 million, Agricultural Minister Anton Apriyantono said.
Illega logging is seen as a major threat to the variety of orchids in Indonesia, as more and more species are lost.
Although collectors and hobbyists seem to be in the forefront of orchid conservation, they also contribute to the problem of the lack of mass cultivation of rare orchid species, Anton said.
"Some of them want their rare flowers to remain rare and expensive," he said.
Most of Indonesia's more valuable species, like the Paphiopedilum javanicum, Phalaenopsis javanica and Phalaenopsis gigantia, now often end up in the hands of collectors in Taiwan, Thailand and European countries.
To support Indonesian orchid exports, the Agricultural Ministry is planning to scrap quarantine fees on agricultural products.