Deputy Foreign Minister Mahendra Siregar, third from right, Colombian Ambassador Juan Camilo Valencia Gonzalez, second from right, and Siswo Pramono, head of policy analysis and development at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, third from left, pose for a photograph with other dignitaries during the opening of an international workshop titled 'Crops for Peace' in Jakarta on Tuesday. (JG Photo/Diana Mariska)

Developing Countries Meet in Jakarta to Discuss Crops for Peace


NOVEMBER 05, 2019

Jakarta. Developing countries, including Indonesia, are committed to optimize agricultural production to ensure food security, reduce poverty and promote global peace, Deputy Foreign Minister Mahendra Siregar said.

"One of [the United Nations] Sustainable Development Goals is zero hunger. There is no sustainable peace without food security. Based on 2018 data, more than 800 million people still lack adequate nutrition globally," he said at the opening of an international workshop titled "Crops for Peace" in Jakarta on Tuesday.

Mahendra added that other SDGs call for poverty reduction and decent work.

"Agriculture is a dominant sector in supporting livelihoods in most fragile and post-conflict areas. Colombia is the best example of this, and we can learn so much from them," the deputy minister said.

He also touched on the issue of illicit crops.

"We have witnessed legal corps versus illicit crops in recent years. In some parts of the world, plants such as cannabis and opium have become vital sources of income. This happens in marginalized and vulnerable areas, including post-conflict countries," Mahendra said.

He called for measures to encourage farmers still relying on such crops for a living to change their ways.

Siswo Pramono, head of policy analysis and development at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said natural resources and agriculture can play a pivotal role in developing countries.

"We organized this workshop to discuss ways natural resources in developing countries can be turned into assets for peace," he said.

"The center for economic growth has shifted to East Asia and several developing countries outside the region. And one of the characteristics of a developing country is a propensity for conflict. In this regard, it would be even more ideal if the way we deal with conflict and post-conflict is localized, based on each country's condition," Siswo added.

He said the discussions during the workshop were not only about the SDGs and agriculture, but also on how the creative economy can help communities to develop.

A hundred delegates, 21 of them from developing nations such as Colombia, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Ghana, Myanmar, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Thailand, the Philippines and Timor Leste, are attending the two-day workshop. 

It was a follow-up of a similar event last year titled "Palm Oil for Peace," initiated by Indonesia and Colombia.

This year's theme was broadened, based on a suggestion by Timor Leste. The program was supported by the United Nations Development Program.

Siswo said the outcomes of the workshop will be discussed in a UN forum.