APO conference on agrifood management

Jakarta – As part of its special program for promoting public–private partnerships to enhance food value chains in Asian economies, the Asian Productivity Organization (APO) held a National Conference on Cold Chain and Logistics Management for Agrifood Products in Jakarta, 4–5.

The two-day conference was organized in collaboration with Indonesia’s Directorate of Productivity Development and Trilogy University with a special grant from the Government of Japan. It was attended by over 100 participants who were updated on tools to improve postharvest processes and infrastructure, including cold chain and logistics management.

The lack of good harvest and postharvest handling practices and poor infrastructure for transportation, storage, cooling, processing, and marketing are among the major causes of food losses in developing countries, especially in regions with warm tropical climates. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, over one-third of all food produced worldwide is wasted annually, severely impacting farmers’ and agroindustry earnings. Besides economic losses, that waste also causes considerable damage to natural resources and the environment.

In welcoming the participants, APO Secretariat Agriculture Department Program Officer Mitsuo Nakamura stressed that while Asian countries had made remarkable progress in improving food safety and quality, they still needed to introduce enhanced value chain systems, particularly cold chains. “This national conference will review the critical issues for the development of cold chain and logistics management in Indonesia. As you understand, enhanced food value chains are crucial because they cover a variety of stakeholders in different stages,” he stated.

In addition to reviewing recent developments in Indonesia, the conference was also designed to help practitioners formulate strategies for the development of more efficient, effective agrifood cold chains and logistics. It was conducted by three APO international experts: University of Arkansas Professor Dr. Navam Hettiarachchy, USA; Nichirei Logistics Group Executive Officer Motoyuki Hazu of the Overseas Business Development Division, Japan; and University of Marketing and Distribution Sciences Professor Dr. Takayuki Mori, Japan.

Key speakers from Indonesia included Directorate of Productivity Development Director Muhammad Zuhri Bahri; Trilogy University Rector Aam Bastaman; Indonesia Food & Beverage Association Chairman Dr. Adhi S. Lukman; Bogor Agricultural University School of Business Head Dr. Arief Daryanto; Indonesia Cold Chain Association Executive Director Ir. Hasanuddin Yasni; and Bogor Agricultural University Professors Dr. Muhammad Firdaus and Dr. Yandra Arkeman.

The conference was attended by policymakers, planners, government officers, CEOs and managers of agribusinesses and food companies, food industry leaders, consultants, and researchers from Indonesia.