Local farmers, breeders can support tourism

Local farmers and breeders are capable of supporting Bali’s tourism by continuously supplying their products to hotels and restaurants, officials said. Wayan Mardiana, head of production division at the provincial Husbandry Agency, said that local livestock was sufficient to fulfill the needs of hotels and restaurants in Bali. “Actually, local breeders are able to support hotels and restaurants in Bali, but they’re marginalized because they still prefer to use imported beef,” he said during a discussion recently. According to the agency’s data, the island’s cattle population has now reached around 660,000 head managed by 27,000 breeder groups.

Every year, local breeders produce 60,000 to 80,000 beef cattle. Currently, only 10 percent of hotels in Bali used local beef, he said, expecting that the figure could increase to at least 40 to 50 percent. Hotels and restaurants are also being called on to use local pork. “Local breeders have improved their farming systems, thus resulting in a higher quality of pork with less fat,” Mardiana said. The island’s pig population currently stands at around 1 million head. I Made Oka Parwata, an adviser for local farmers at the provincial Agriculture Agency, shared similar expectations that hotels and restaurants could use a larger quantity of local produce.

“The tourism sector has yet to side with local agriculture,” he said. The provincial administration has conducted various programs to enhance the abilities of local farmers, including teaching them to develop and diversify their products to be able to attain higher market penetration. As an example, farmers in Karangasem have been trained to make various products from snakefruit to address the oversupply problems they face every harvesting season. He urged tourism stakeholders, particularly the hotel association, to make agreements with hotels to serve local fruit and vegetables to their guests.

“The quality of local farm produce might not be directly accepted by hotels and restaurants as it will require some improvements, but there should be a discussion between the hotels’ and farmers’ associations about this to find a win-win situation,” he suggested. The hotel association is expected to be able to facilitate discussions between both parties, so that farmers could better understand how to improve the quality of their produce to fulfill hotel standards. During a recent discussion, tourism practitioners from the Bali Tourism Industry Association suggested that there should be a scheme to provide local farmers with cash assistance managed by cooperatives, as well as providing them with technical assistance to help production and distribution to hotels and restaurants.

source : bali daily

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