JAKARTA (Jakarta Post): Don't know where to go on weekends other than the shopping malls?
You can perhaps pay a visit to Indonesia's first-of-its-kind farmer market, officially launched here Saturday by the Agriculture Ministry and due to run every weekend afterwards.
Located at the clean, neat National Monument (Monas)'s IRTI parking area on Jl. Medan Merdeka Selatan, Central Jakarta, the market offers various kinds of farming products: fruits and vegetables, processed products, and ornamental plants.
And they are all fresh bought and sold by the traders themselves.
These farmers come from areas in Jakarta and the neighboring Banten and West Java provinces.
"We wish to bring the farmers to meet face-to-face with customers, so that they can earn more from their farming products," said Agriculture Minister Anton Apriyono at the launch.
He said that farmers had all these times been a marginalized group, as they could only earn a little from their farming products that were usually traded to customers via middlemen, who took the most benefit from the mediated trading system.
"Based on a research, farmers can earn an added value up to 23 percent of overall agribusiness activities with the direct marketing system," added Anton, taking as example the success of farmer markets in Malaysia, Britain and some other countries.
At the same occasion, the Agriculture Ministry's director general for processing and marketing of agricultural products, Djoko Said Damardjati, said that Jakarta was the first province in Indonesia organizing such a market.
"We'll have this farmer market in two or three provinces in total by the end of the year," said Djoko, adding that the other provinces might include Yogyakarta, Bandung in West Java, or Semarang in Central Java.
According to Djoko, the ministry has set aside a fund of around Rp 400 million (approximately US$43,716) for the program this year.
Overall, a total of 34 cities and municipalities in 17 provinces of Indonesia will host the farmer markets in the next few years.
The ministry will provide all farmer participants with kiosks for free.