Harnessing the potential of the bio-economy in Indonesia

Indonesia bio-econ expo
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BIOFIN Indonesia will host the Bio-Econ Business Expo on 2-3 March in Jakarta 

By BIOFIN Indonesia

The economic value of nature and biodiversity in Indonesia is extremely high. Indonesian biodiversity brings great benefits to many sectors, such as food/agriculture, medicines, livestock and industrial manufacturing, among others.

Indonesia’s economy is still highly dependent on natural resources which offer the opportunity for the biodiversity-based economy to become a major economic driver if managed in a sustainable way. Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries sectors contribution to economic growth has reached around 3.95% in 2018. The sectors contributes 13.4% of the GDP (Q2-2018).

An example of the burgeoning bio-economy in Indonesia was highlighted at the recent Sustainable Fisheries Startup Forum in Manado, Sulawesi. Frank Mars, the director of Mars Symbioscience International, explained the potential of using algae as an alternative for livestock feeds. Based on recent research, algae his effective in reducing methane gas produced by the livestock. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas and produces stronger emissions compared to carbon dioxide. This use of algae offers big potential and a significant new market opportunity for the development of community-based algae production in Indonesia - whilst benefiting the environment.

Another example of beneficial bio-economy innovation is plastic waste processing using bacteria. Plastic waste is a huge problem in Indoensia. It has been proven that certain bacteria are able to digest plastic waste and decompose it faster. The use of bacteria in the context of waste has big potential as a smart solution in reducing plastic waste which contaminates the ocean. There are many other examples of benefits from the bio-economy, including the use of animals and plants in medicine and for food security.

Unfortunately, the bio-economy has not been a priority sector for Indonesia and the volume of public investments toward this sector are still extremely small. Even so, the government has made some investments through the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), Assessment and Application of Technology Agency (BPPT), State Universities and other agencies to explore the economic potential of this sector.

For this very reason, BIOFIN Indonesia is organising the Bio-Economy Business Expo.The event will bridge collaboration between researchers, business groups and startups, as well as increase awareness on the new economic opportunity of this sector. This activity can also become a platform to increase investment towards Indonesian biodiversity finance.