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ISSUE FOUR 2015 PARTNERS
A JOURNEY THROUGH
Australia and Indonesia have an effective
development partnership that is changing
millions of lives by improving health and
education outcomes, boosting economic
growth, and improving livelihoods for low-
income smallholder producers.
Agricultural research has an important role in
addressing these policy priorities. ACIAR has
been supporting Indonesia for 30 years, with
substantial benefits flowing to farmers and the
Due to the location of ACIAR’s projects, I
travelled to some of the poorest regions as well
as the more developed provinces.
I had the privilege of meeting with agricultural
organisations, project leaders, scientists,
agronomists, economists and everyday farmers.
I also witnessed ACIAR-funded projects that
were improving livelihoods, including ensuring
food and nutritional security through enhanced
productivity and food quality.
I documented livestock production in West
Timor, the profitability and competitiveness of
Indonesian agriculture in Sumatra, smallholder
aquaculture systems in Lombok and enhanced
livelihoods from forestry products in Java, just to
name a few.
Here, I must thank ACIAR for the opportunity
to travel to and document these projects in
Indonesia. And a special thank you to the
professional ACIAR staff in Indonesia—Mirah
Nuryati, Maria Ludwina and Yudhie—without
whom my work would not have been possible.
Arguably, Indonesia is the most varied and
interesting country I have visited. Spread over
three time zones, it is as wide as Europe and,
with more than 17,000 islands, it has some of
the most diverse human cultures, flora and
fauna known to humankind.
A country of contrast was my first impression
of Indonesia. But I believe I could go back many
times and still be pleasantly surprised. n
BY PAUL JONES
When ACIAR called me about documenting
agricultural projects taking place in Indonesia
I was excited. Like many Australians, I had
frequented the shores of Indonesia. I had been
to Bali! How different can the rest of the country
be? I was in for one big, pleasant surprise.
Indonesia is the world’s largest archipelago,
with thousands of islands and hundreds of
tribes and ethnicities. Indonesia is a diverse and
colourful nation. The country is home to more
than 249 million people, making it the fourth
most populous nation in the world. It has a
range of different terrains including volcanoes
and lush rainforests, arid savanna, swamps and
irrigated rice fields, so it is hard to imagine a
more appropriate national motto than Bhinneka
Tunggal Ika—Unity in Diversity.
The first thing I noticed about Indonesia is that
it is a country of contrast: from dense green
forests to red dusty sun-baked fields, from
economic wealth to poverty, from densely
populated cities to rural isolation.
My first stop was Jakarta, Indonesia’s capital, a
bustling modern city of more than 12 million
people, making it one of the world’s largest
cities. I was amazed how vast the city was and
how much traffic congested the streets. It takes
an enormous amount of time to get anywhere
in Jakarta. Like most cities, it was not built to
accommodate cars, and the mix of cars with
motor scooters results in perpetual gridlock.
Bali, on the other hand, is bathed in another
kind of beauty, complete with lush mountains,
white beaches, blue waters and ... well, throngs
of tourists. But I was not in Indonesia to have a
holiday; I was there to work.
In a huge and fertile country such as Indonesia,
there is a widespread agricultural sector in
each region. Indonesia is a large growth and
production centre for vegetables, livestock
Over the past 25 years, Paul Jones has worked as a
staff photographer for the Sydney Morning Herald and
the Australian Financial Review and as a freelancer for
The Australian, London Sunday Times, The Guardian,
Associated Press and Agence France-Presse. His
association with Partners magazine began in 2012
when Paul was sponsored by ACIAR to visit project
sites in Papua New Guinea. His report resulted in the
first of Partners magazine’s in-country special reports.
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