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Made and Wayan Have a Farm, Ee i Ee i Oh!

Pressure Mounts for Bali Hotels and Restaurants to Use More Local Agricultural Products.

(2/1/2011) The call for the use of more local agricultural products in Bali's hotels, restaurants and shopping centers continues as local tourism and hospitality leaders seek ways to overcome impediments of consistency of supply and quality which have generally been cited by local buyers for their preference of imported over local goods.

In order to find way to increase the use of local agricultural products, officials from Bali's leading tourism organizations are seeking to sit together. "By sitting together and seeking the best solution, the farmers and the tourism operators can stop the current tendency of blaming each other for the problem," said Perry Markus, the secretary-general of the Bali chapter of the Indonesian Hotel and Restaurant Association (PHRI-Bali).

Markus insists that the tourism industry has never refused to use local agricultural products, saying that hotels generally purchase goods via local hotel suppliers.

"If we take the products directly from the farmers we will encounter many problems, such as limited production capabilities of the farmers. The tourism industry needs a continuous dependable supply of local products," insisted Markus. While PHRI-Bali members are eager to use local products, concerns persist as to whether local farmers can provide a consistent quality and continuing supply of fruits and vegetables. Adding, "our farmers are unable to fulfill the supply criteria of the tourism sector; time is still needed for them to be able to penetrate Bali's hotel sector."

The coordinator for the Indonesian Association of Travel Agents (ASITA) for Bali, East and West Nusa Tenggara, Bagus Sudibya, has recommended that the government consider giving awards and incentives to hotels and restaurants who prioritize the use of local farm products. Sudibya points to the case of Thailand where the government give tax incentives to hotel investors who pledge to use local agricultural products.

Separately, the rector of the National Education University (Undiknas) in Denpasar, Professor Dr. Gede Sri Darma, said the way to increase agricultural productivity in Bali Is through the application of location-specific technology. Because of the major role played by farmers in providing food for the public, Darma said the welfare of the island's farmers must be made a top priority.