Big Money, Small Worries
SBY is currently in some hot water
because a friend and member of his inner circle has been hoaxed. Twice. Maybe.His advisor Heru Lelono believed that seawater could be converted into fuel and that the production of an untested new rice variety could yield twice as much as others.
If SBY has been 'embarrassed' by the hybrid rice known as Supertoy HL2, then surely so have many of the political and business élite.
Last year, at a ceremony in Chengdu, China, witnessed by visiting Vice President Jusuf Kalla and the Minister of Agriculture Anton Apriyantono along with other Indonesian officials and representatives of local governments in China, an agreement was signed between the Artha Graha group, through PT Penta Prima Pusaka, along with the Sichuan Guohao Seeds Industry (SGSI) of China, to supply hybrid seeds to Indonesian agribusiness.
Artha Graha is the conglomerate fronted by Tommy Winata, the army backed oligarch who doesn't like Tempo magazine. It's also worth noting that Taufik Kiemas, husband of former President Megawati, has a stake in the hybrid seed industry.
So all this posturing about nepotism in the Presidential Office is surely mere politicking before the Presidential election due next year, an election which incumbent is still favourite to win, as well as to divert attention, much like the Pornography Bill, from the gross misdeeds of our public 'servants'.
A year ago I put together a series of posts on Green Indonesia
examining the hybrid seed industry here.
I wrote about the 'establishment' which is riding roughshod over the interests of local farming communities, who are rapidly losing their traditional knowledge and, indeed, the seed stores which have adjusted to local conditions over many harvests to give satisfactory yields .
None of the new breed of seeds have yet been proven to benefit farmers; all have created a dependency on specific fertilisers which have poisoned land and yet produced decreasing yields.