Netherlands and Indonesia agree to raise fisheries production to improve food security

The Dutch Minister for Agriculture, Sharon Dijksma has signed an agreement with the Indonesian Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Sharif Cicip Sutardjo, to increase small-scale fisheries production. Around thirty per cent of the catch in this country of over 17,000 islands is lost due to insufficient knowledge of the treatment, storage, distribution and marketing of fish. Both countries will contribute a total of nine million euros to strengthen food security through improving the sustainability of the fishing industry and combating malnutrition, which affects thirty million Indonesians. Minister Dijksma is visiting Indonesia on a trade mission together with Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Lilianne Ploumen and representatives of over 100 Dutch businesses.

Vital role

"Over 6.5 million people literally make a living from the water, so we can definitely say that the fishing industry plays a vital role in the Indonesian economy,” Minister Dijksma said. “The oceans are also an important source for improving global food security, not by more fishing, but through a change in our fisheries methods and a more sustainable approach. And it is this knowledge we want to pass on to the local fishermen through our businesses in the coming years."

Blue economy

Wageningen University and Dutch businesses have joined forces with the Indonesian government to prepare a food security program to strengthen the ‘blue economy’. By gaining more knowledge about aspects such as fishing methods, improved quality control, and the storage, treatment and breeding of fish, Indonesian fishermen will be able to increase their production and improve their own financial situation. This is also in line with Indonesia’s aim to boost nutrition for its population through fish. Indonesia has therefore developed a food security act to enhance nutritional diversity among its population.

Local and new markets

Increasing production and adding to the knowledge of Indonesian fishermen must ensure that more good quality fish will be available and accessible to the local market. Providing a better guarantee of fish quality and food security will have the added benefit of making Indonesian fish attractive for the European market.

Oceans Conference

The agreement and cooperation to strengthen the Indonesian economy through the fishing industry with Dutch know-how is a prelude to the global Oceans Conference the Netherlands will organise in May 2014 in The Hague. The conference will focus on improving food security by strengthening natural resources in oceans, including a more sustainable approach of the global fishing industry before 2030. Over 40 per cent of fish stocks are overfished, while the sea remains an important food source for large parts of the world.