The Indonesian Ambassador to Australia, His Excellency Nadjib Riphat Kesoema, yesterday held high-level meetings with executives from the University of New England (UNE) and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural (ACIAR), and research leaders.

As part of the visit His Excellency took a tour of the university’s agricultural research facilities, including the SMART Farm and the Centre for Animal Research and Teaching.

His Excellency’s visit was intended to build a stronger relationship between UNE and Indonesia, coinciding with the roll out of two new research projects developed by ACIAR with UNE as the Australian research partner.

SMART Farm capabilities

Prof Lamb showimg the Ambassador SMART Farm capabilities

Supported by the Australian Government and funded by the Department Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the $11.7 million investment focuses on integrated beef production and improving smallholder cattle systems in eastern Indonesia to benefit the local economy and food security.

The Indonesian Ambassador has been very supportive and interested in the progress of these projects due to the importance beef production and trade in the context of Australia and Indonesia’s relationship.

“Agriculture plays a central role in Indonesia’s development. It contributes to about 15 percent of our GDP and creates 40% of all jobs throughout Indonesia’s many islands.

Graham Chaffey, manager of the UNE Animal House, demonstrating the functions of the new Centre for Animal Research and Teaching

Graham Chaffey, manager of the UNE Animal House, demonstrating the functions of the new Centre for Animal Research and Teaching

“As we move forward, I strongly support this cooperation and encourage all involved to cultivate and invest in our agriculture future for a better food security, safety and prosperity for the peoples of Indonesia and Australia,” Ambassador Kesoema said.

In parallel, UNE will be partnering with 10 Indonesian universities to run its new professional doctorate program, which will support 10-20 Indonesian students at UNE to work on research projects across the Indonesian beef industry supply chain.

“This exciting new program will provide opportunities to students, including our Indonesian colleagues, to complete a doctorate with a specific professional outcome in a broader effort to insure the best chances of technical skills and employment following their study,” Vice-Chancellor Professor Annabelle Duncan said.

These new agreements are a significant development for the agricultural sector in Australia and for the relationship between Australia and Indonesia, the Vice-Chancellor added.

“We currently have a very strong relationship with Indonesia with many Indonesian students enrolled and a number of research projects in Indonesia. It is therefore a great honour to have Ambassador Kesoema on campus today and I look forward to advance our relationship