August 24, 2016 - News

This year Indonesia, Yogyakarta to be precise, has the opportunity to host the 59th IAAS World Congress. IAAS, which stands for International Association of Student in Agriculture and Related Science, consists of agriculture students from all over the world, studying agro-complex and related fields. Currently members of IAAS come from 40 countries in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and the Americas. There are eight Indonesian universities participating in this organization, and those are UNLAM, IPB, UNS, UNRAM, UNPAD, UNDIP, UGM and UB.

UGM is one of the universities entrusted by IAAS to hold the World Congress. With the main theme of “Plant Your Future”, activities are geared towards facilitating these students to get together, discuss the issues related to agriculture, and share ideas to advance world agriculture together.

In addition to the previously mentioned activities, participants also get to visit companies that are in business in the agro-complex field, and one of them is INDMIRA. Sixty students have been scheduled to visit INDMIRA and receive information on agricultural research and technology that have been undertaken in the company. These students come from 20 countries, such as USA, Argentina, Belgium, Chile, France, Germany, Austria, Greece, Guatemala, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Zimbabwe, Russia, Ghana, Nepal, Japan, and Australia. There are also eight local students representing these universities: IPB, UB, UNPAD, UNDIP, UGM, UNLAM and UNRAM.

Participants arrive at Amboja Farm production fields and are greeted by Bambang Sasongko, who also is the tour guide for the day. After a quick welcome, he starts taking the group from the parking area towards the main employee building while explaining the available facilities. Along the way, they have the opportunity to be introduced to some crops and allowed to pick. They get to harvest chili peppers, long beans, leeks, and cabbage.

The highlight of the farm visit is rice planting, using “jajar legowo” technique. For many, this is their first ever experience in getting into a muddy field. While most participants do plant rice, some see the opportunity to have fun in the mud and start enjoying the wet ground.

Time flies when we are having fun. At noon, participants start heading to the headquarters. The tour starts at the marginal land demonstration plots, continues to the grouper farm, hydroponic and aquaponic facilities, and ends at the prawn farm.

This quick tour is immediately followed by a walk to the Sendang Garden. Here boiled peanuts and kombucha are already waiting to be consumed. Some people are not familiar with this drink but they do enjoy it none the less. There are some who get to enjoy “kedondong” fruits that have just been picked from the trees in the farm.

The end of the visit is marked with filling out the hexagonal comment cards. Many people write positive remarks. For example, Tora Lundin from Sweden writes that the tour has been enjoyable and interesting. She learns new things related to the hydroponic system and rice cultivation.

Yavor from Russia expresses his enjoyment in visiting INDMIRA. He finds many interesting things and innovation at the place. “I will bring home your hydroponic system. Thank you!!” he writes.

“It’s great to see all the variety of plants and production system.” adds a participant from Chile.

Based on these positive reactions on Indonesian agriculture by these international students, it is very unfortunate that local students do not show as much enthusiasm and pride. “Unfortunately, I did not notice that much concern from the Indonesian students. These agriculture students seemed set to work behind the desk and leave the menial work to the less fortunate.” adds Bambang Sasongko.

Foreign students are impressed with Indonesian agriculture, how about you??

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