Professor Aziz Purwantoro of the UGM Faculty of Agriculture stated that the horticulture seed industry in Indonesia is growing and flourishing with the release of numerous new varieties of vegetables and fruits to the public.
“During my 13 years as an evaluator, more than a hundred seed producers have emerged and released 400 to 500 new varieties of horticultural plants, with about 60-70 percent being vegetables,” Professor Aziz Purwantoro told reporters after conducting a Best Practice in Plant Breeding training at the UGM Agrotechnology Innovation Center (PIAT) in Berbah, Sleman, Yogyakarta, on Thursday (September 21).
Professor Purwantoro mentioned that most seed producers are dominated by Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (UMKM) entrepreneurs, most of whom have long been involved in companies engaged in agriculture.
“They are willing to engage in agriculture because the seed industry does not require large capital. They usually come from companies and at least understand the marketing aspect,” Professor Purwantoro explained.
The professor said the horticultural seed industry is a promising agricultural business sector.
“In agriculture, the seed industry is the most significant. Just one kilogram of seeds can be sold for hundreds of thousands of rupiahs,” Professor Purwantoro added.
The new varieties released by seed producers are mostly vegetable crops like chili, eggplant, shallots, and others. For fruit crops, there are melons and watermelons.
“For tree-shaped fruit plants, they are usually recognized by those working with the owners,” he said.
He added that developing new horticultural plant varieties takes 3-4 years.
“Sometimes it can be just two years because vegetables can be harvested in about 3-4 months. Generally, these new varieties have advantages such as higher production or resistance to pests,” Professor Purwantoro said.
Professor Taryono, the Head of the UGM Agrotechnology Innovation Center and a plant breeder from the UGM Faculty of Agriculture, emphasized that every new variety released to the public should add value to agricultural products and have advantages over similar crops.
“There must be something different in terms of its superiority so that we have a wealth of genetic resources,” he stated.
Mulyono Herlambang, a seed industry entrepreneur, mentioned that most agricultural seeds in Indonesia are still imported, so he believes that the government needs to continue to encourage the growth and development of the seed industry. Breeding technology aims to obtain highly productive and quality varieties.
“High productivity will sell in the market,” Herlambang expressed.
He added that a breeder must be discerning to achieve plant variety performance that excels in quality and quantity, is resistant to pests and diseases, can withstand extreme weather conditions, and contains specific substances such as vitamins.
“The breeder’s task is to fill and be able to cross the most dominant advantage of one type of plant,” Herlambang said.
Author: Gusti Grehenson