Local News

Agriculture Ministry to train 12,000 ‘millennial farmers’ in Bali

I Made Agus Wijaya, 29, spends most of his day in front of his computer at an elementary school in Bangli village, Tabanan, Bali. From 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday, he works at the school. Once his working hours are done, he changes into a T-shirt and shorts, takes a sickle and heads out into the rice fields. “My father was a farmer. I should continue what he did,” Agus said.

Agus was taught to farm by his late father since he was 6 years old. He is used to getting dirty and working under the scorching sun. “It doesn’t matter. I enjoy it,” said Agus, who now manages a 7,000 square meter plot of land he inherited from his father. Agus also allows parts of the land to be managed by other farmers who share their profits. Agus said he was proud of being a farmer although many do not aspire to take up the profession these days. “Most young people in the city think becoming a farmer would lower their status. They don’t know that many farmers send their children to university. If done seriously, farming is a fruitful endeavor,” he said. The only thing that worries Agus is the decreasing value of harvests. Although he is confident he can continue farming and would never sell his father’s land, Agus said he could not leave the school. He is also pursuing an undergraduate degree at a local university. “I just need something that keeps me informed but I would never stop farming. I am the son of a farmer and I will preserve my father’s  legacy,” he emphasized.

Agus is one of a small number of young people in Bali who are still eager to work as farmers. The rapid growth of tourism on the island has not only led to massive urbanization but has also seen many young Balinese born into farming families decide to work in tourism, leaving many plots of land abandoned, which are eventually converted into tourism areas. “This problem not only occurs in Bali and Indonesia. It’s a problem all over the world,” Agriculture Ministry official Syukur Iwantoro said. In an attempt to encourage young people to continue farming, the ministry has launched a farming training program in Badung regency with the goal of educating more than 12,000 young “millennial farmers” from across the island. More than 500 farmers from nine regencies and cities joined the first phase of the program this month. Syukur said similar programs would be developed in all provinces in the country. The government has declared 2019 the year of the Indonesian farmers’ revival and has attempted to improve farmers’ access to capital, markets and technology to improve their productivity. “Millennial farmers will be the backbone of agriculture in the future,” he said.

Syukur added that Indonesia had also been appointed as the world’s pilot project for farmer regeneration. The             program is supported by the International Food Agriculture Development (IFAD), which has given US$50 million for the program in Indonesia for three years. The program focuses on fostering young, productive and modern farmers. Agus, who has also joined the program, said he was very happy to be able to take part. “The most important thing for me is how to keep the prices of our products steady. That’s our greatest concern as farmers,” he said. [The Jakarta Post March 13, 2019]


Badung Regency officials in Bali place closure stickers on entrance of Sky Garden Discotheque for failing to hold proper business registration

NusaBali reports that Bandung Regency Enforcement Officer (Satpol PP) have placed stickers at the entrance to the Sky Garden Discotheque in Legian, Kuta ordering it to halt  operations until it can prove it has all operating permits in hand. The “order to close” stickers were installed by Satpol PP officials mid-day on Friday, March 15, 2019. The head of Satpol PP for Bandung, I Gusti Agung Surya Kerthanegara, explained the official “sealing” of the business took place mid-day on Friday. More than 10 enforcement officers  visited Sky Garden demanding to be shown all the required permits and licenses. The management of the popular night spot were reportedly unable to present a certificate showing completed registration as a tourism business (TDUP).  Immediately thereafter, the “first reminder” in the form of a sticker ordering the Sky Garden’s temporary closure were affixed to the entrance.

Kerthanegara explained on Sunday, March 17, 2019: “We issued the first warning because the Sky Garden does not have an operational permit. In the past, they had one, but that expired last January. But until this date, the necessary permit has not been secured. We therefore issued the first warning.” Kerthanegara continued explaining that the TDUP issued to the Sky Garden ended on January 16, 2019. The Regency official claimed the company has shown no good will in extending its old permit, despite being summoned on February 12, 2019. The Sky Garden did not answer the summons, prompting the issuance of a second summons on February 26, 2019. Three days later the management of the Sky Garden reported to the Sat Pol PP office to make a formal promise to organize the permit.

Kerthanegara told officials that there had been a change of management and the current management was unaware that the old TDUP had expired. At that point, the new management of Sky Garden issued a formal promise to complete the registration process. But, after 15 working days had passed, the Sky Garden had not kept its promise causing Sat Pol PP officials to undertake the raid and install stickers ordering the night spot to close.

The “first reminder” in the form of the closure sticker will apply for another 15 working days. If, at that point, the TDUP has still not been issued a “second reminder” will be issued. Kerthanegara said The Sky Garden will be closed if it cannot organize the needed permit. Efforts by NusaBali to contact the manager of Sky Garden, Harianto, by telephone were unsuccessful. [balidiscovery.com March 18, 2019]


Iconic Grand Inna Bali Beach hotel gets Rp 2.8t facelift

Grand Inna Bali Beach, Bali’s first five-star hotel and one of the island’s most iconic man-made constructions, is getting a massive facelift as its parent company embarks on a Rp 2.8 trillion multi-stage expansion project. The four-year-long project will transform the hotel and its premises into a sprawling and luxurious resort offering several hotels with more than 1,000 rooms and 73 premium villas, including a presidential villa. It will also boast a convention facility that can accommodate up to 10,000 people, a lifestyle art market, an eco-park on 16 hectares of green and forested area, as well as a pier and a helipad. Upon the completion of the project, the area will be rebranded as Kawasan Hotel Indonesia Bali, the largest tourist resort in Sanur.

“This is a very historic hotel, the construction of which was initiated by our founding father, President Soekarno, who envisioned Bali as the center of Indonesian tourism. Hopefully, this major revitalization project will bring Sanur, Bali and us closer to his vision,” State-Owned Enterprises Minister Rini Soemarno said Friday morning in Sanur. A few minutes earlier, Rini officiated the groundbreaking ceremony of phase 1 of the expansion. The ceremony was also  attended by Bali Governor Wayan Koster and PT Hotel Indonesia Natour (HIN) president director Iswandi Said. A state-owned enterprise, HIN owns and operates 14 hotels across Sumatra, Java and Bali.

Phase 1 will see the construction of two three-star hotels on a 2.4-hectare plot of land on the southern edge of the       premises. Bali’s prominent architect Popo Danes is tasked with designing the properties and he will incorporate Sanur’s signature visual elements to the design. “The lobby will be graced with a canopy in the shape of a janggan,” he said, referring to the traditional long-tailed dragon-head kites that rule Sanur’s sky during the windy months of July and August.

The hotels are expected to open in November 2020, with one designed to be a city hotel and another a resort. “Once these hotels are ready, staff and workers of the Grand Inna Bali Beach will be transferred to these hotels and we will commence the renovation of the Grand Inna Bali Beach building,” stated Iswandi Said. Built in 1963, the 523-room Grand Inna Bali Beach was one of the first hotels that graced the white-sandy beach of Sanur, once a quiet village populated by fishermen and Hindu high priest families.  Its tall, 10-story building rose to become a visual icon frequently featured in numerous publications and postcards in the 1980s and 1990s.

In the late 1970s, the Bali administration issued a building code setting the maximum height of a building at 15 meters, making Grand Inna Bali Beach the tallest and the only 10-story hotel on the island. “We have carried out a technical review of the structure of Grand Inna Bali Beach and it is still safe. Therefore, much of the planned renovation project will deal with the interior of the hotel,” Iswandi Said added.  The revitalization project will be carried out by PT Hotel Karya Indonesia, a consortium of four giant state-owned developers: PT Waskita Realty, PT Hutama Karya Realtindo, PT PP Properti Tbk. and PT Wika Realty Tbk. [The Jakarta Post March 15, 2019]


Cruise ships cancelling visits to Lombok due to poor trash control

Kompas.com reports that three international cruise ships have cancelled coming plans to call on the Island of Lombok. The general manager of PT Pelabuhan Indonesia in Lembar (Pelindo III), Erry Ardiyanto, said that of the three ships to cancel plans to stop in Lombok, one vessel specifically mentioned trash at the destination port as the reason for deciding not to visit. “3 of 26 cruise ships (for 2019) have cancelled. The main reasons given were the recovery process following last year’s earthquake and the problem of trash,” said Erry, speaking at the port of Lembar on Monday, March 11, 2019. Erry said the decision to cancel the cruise was received from the ships’ agent in Singapore. Each of the cancelled ships were expected to bring between 1,500 and 2,000 international passengers to Lombok. “Trash at tourist stops was also one the complaints. But, the topic of trash we have handled,” explained Erry.

Erry said that in dealing with problems like trash at destinations, PT Pelindo III cannot overcome such problems single-handedly, but must also receive the support of the public. Pelindo is in communication with Lombok’s Tourism Service and leading tourism stakeholders in the province of West Nusa Tenggara. Adding: “These efforts have been done to raise the level of concern and desire to protect the natural environment in order to protect the welfare of Lombok and its people, and to safeguard the Island’s short-term economic needs and its long-term sustainability in the future.”

Meanwhile, the chairman of the NTB Chapter of the Association of Tour and Travel Agents (ASITA), Dewantoro Umbu Joka, freely admitted that the problem of trash and the cleanliness of public toilets needs the attention of the regional government following last year’s earthquakes. He commented that while cruise liners may only stop for a single day in Lombok, the success of those visits can have a long and lasting effect of Lombok’s international image as a tourism destination. Adding: “Don’t let the simple problem of trash become an obstacle. This is an internal problem that we must tackle together.Before tourist arrive the trash should be removed and the toilets must be working well.”

In response, the head of tourism (Kadispar) for West Nusa Tenggara, H. Lalu Mohammad Faozal, denies the news of the cancellation of three cruise ships to Lombok in connection with hygiene and trash problems. “There has been no rescheduling or cancellation of cruise ship visits to Lombok,” said Faozal when interviewed by Kompas.com on Monday, March 11, 2019. According to Lombok’s head of tourism, his office has taken steps to routinely clean the coastline in several key areas of Lombok assisted by the local community in each location. Adding: “We, on behalf of the NTB Tourism office, feel the news of the cancellation of cruise ship visits to Lombok is damaging and far removed from the truth.”

Undeterred, the Pelindo III boss confirmed the loss of ship visits due to complaints of seaside trash in Lombok. Saying now is the time for Lombok to rise again and address the problem of hygiene. He acknowledged that Lombok tourism was on the road to recovery, proven by the coming visit of four cruise ships over the past three months. The four cruise ships calling on Lombok’s Port of Lembar over the past months include: MV. Star Legend, MV. Aidavita, MV. Star Legend all during January 2019 and a return of the MV Aidavita in February 2019. [balidiscovery.com March 17, 2019]