Students' eyes opened to Indonesian agri

Richard Turner is back from six weeks in Indonesia after looking at Indonesian farming practices and businesses.

“The average farmer in Indonesia will have a half to one hectare farm”

“Farming in Indonesia is a lot more labour intensive than New Zealand. More small scale. The average farmer will have a half- to one-hectare farm. Typically, farmers grow rice and have a couple of cows. Cows are usually tied up at home in a shed or indoor barn and farmers will cut and bring king grass to the cows. Any available land space is usually for growing rice.”

Along with sixteen other Lincoln University students and Lincoln professor, Hugh Bigsby, Richard visited three cities and universities and many rural places.

Most farms are very small family farms and the land is very productive. “The climate is hot and there is a lot of rainfall, the soils are also very fertile. Labour is often within the family and little technology has been adapted. The Rice is planted and harvested by hand.”

But small family farms are changing. “There is a lot of pressure on space and land. Large corporate farms are establishing and because small farms are expensive, the only small farms are inherited family farms. Not many young people are coming into the industry because they are keen to move to the city because farming is so labour intensive.” Another pressure is urbanisation.

What does Richard’s trip to Indonesia mean for his future? “I am keen to go down the financial and farm management type role, rural professional or commercial rural banking. I can see Indonesia as a big potential market (265 million) with their growing middle class and, with the wealth of the people increasing, so too will their demand for dairy.”

Richard went to Indonesia as part of his Asian Agri-business paper, and thanks to the Prime Minister’s Scholarship for Asia. Richard is a DairyNZ scholarship recipient in Year 3 at Lincoln University studying a Bachelor of Commerce (Agriculture).

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