Q&A with Indonesia CropCare Association Chairman Joko Suwondo

The Indonesia CropCare Association (ICCA) was founded in 2000 as a collection of fertilizer and pesticide companies, with the common goal of developing the crop input industry across the country.

As an association it is easier to deal with other parties, especially with the government, says ICCA Chairman Joko Suwondo.

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AgriBusiness Global magazine partnered with ICCA to host the Trade Summit Southeast Asia last month in Jakarta, Indonesia. Suwondo, who is also the President Director of PT Rabana Agro Resources, participated in the following Q&A with us:

Q. How has the organization’s role changed over the years?
We were founded in 2000 as a local association called the National Society of Pesticide (HMPN). In 2014 we changed the name to Indonesia CropCare Association. The new association consists of companies who are dealing with pesticides and fertilizer. We are open for multinational companies to join in.

Q. How has agriculture in Indonesia changed over the years?
The government has been trying hard to have a self-sufficiency on rice by giving a subsidy of fertilizer, giving free rice seed and corn but no pesticide subsidy.

Q. CropCare works with government agencies to support the pesticide industry. How has the government’s approach to pesticides changed over the years?
CropCare is under two agencies: the Department of Agriculture for registration aspect, where they are continuing to strengthen the registration rules and processes. We are also under the Department of Industry for industry aspect. This department is strongly supporting the pesticide industry in Indonesia.

Q. How have growers in the country changed?
The significant change is actually on the plantation sector, especially on oil palm. They are always trying to comply with international regulations. For food and horticulture sectors, it is not significantly changed.

Q. What are the most critical challenges facing Indonesian growers currently?
The low price of commodities impacts their profitability, which is further hurt by the increasing cost of agrichemical products due to the weakening rupiah against the U.S. dollar. One more thing is the possibility of increasing transportation costs due to oil price increases.

Q. What are the most critical challenges facing manufacturers and distributors of crop protection products trying to do business in Indonesia?
Changing the registration procedures will be the most challenging problem for manufacturers.

Q. How is CropCare working to resolve these issues?
We, CropCare, and other associations work together to approach and keep close contact with the Authority.

Q. What are the opportunities for manufacturers and distributors of crop protection products in Indonesia?
The potential market in Indonesia is very big, but our share is still small. We need a lot of promotion to educate the grower to use plant protection products.

Q. How will Indonesia’s crop protection industry change in the next several years?
Due to the current issue that any registration holder must have their own formulation plant facilities, it will cause a serious problem to a certain level. The crop protection industry definitely will change in the next several years.

Q. Have Indonesian growers shown an interest in biological products (biopesticides or biostimulants)?
This is a new product in Indonesia. It’s good for growers considering the environmental issues, especially for organic growers.

Q. Do you think this attitude will change in the future?
Yes, I do. Awareness of the green environment will increase significantly.

Q. Why did CropCare get involved with the AgriBusiness Global Trade Summit?
I think because we are eager to have a new knowledge and products from the international suppliers.

Q. How does the Trade Summit help the industry?
It will develop networking and business relationships between Indonesian companies and the suppliers.