An innovative Australian training and capacity-building program is helping to build ties with Indonesia to benefit of both countries.
A total of 25 participants from Indonesian industry, the University of Queensland and start-up companies have been part of the Australia Awards Short Course on Grain Value Chain Leadership Program to unlock economic development potential between Australia and Indonesia.
"What we are trying to do is give participants an understanding of the grains value chain in Australia," Associate Professor Abdul Aziz said.
"In Indonesia, we went through their own value chain, and now it's about understanding the process here.
"Indonesia is an important market for Australia, so we are looking at building the future leaders of the Indonesian Grain Value Chain - a lot of our participants are from the mills with links to small to medium enterprises.
"They're the future leaders of the Indonesian grain industry.
"What we would also like to do is build this relationship and collaborative network to exchange information and knowledge over the long term."
The Grains Value Chain Leadership Program is a collaboration between the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade-funded IA-CEPA ECP Katalis (Katalis) and industry partners Grains Australia, the Indonesian Flour Milling Association (APTINDO) and the Indonesian Feedmills Association (GPT).
The program is managed by Australia Awards in Indonesia and is being implemented by the University of Queensland.
Organisations including the Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre, the Grain Industry Association of Western Australia, Grain Trade Australia, CBH Group, the Grains Research & Development Corporation, GrainGrowers Limited, Grain Producers Australia, and the Stock Feed Manufacturers' Council of Australia are working closely with Grains Australia on delivering the Program.
Industry experts from across Australia are also providing mentoring to participants, as they develop and refine their plans to implement upon their return to Indonesia.
Professor Sultanbawa said the program was all about collaboration and introducing the participants to the work of QAAFI's ARC Training Centre for Uniquely Australian Foods.
"It's a great partnership with the School of Agriculture and Food Sustainability, because Ammar works in the agribusiness area, and we work in product development, value addition and nutrition," she said.
"We have been teaching the participants about composite flours - how to make healthy foods out of flour.
"We are also showcasing some of our native Australian plants like wattleseeds, bunya nuts and Kakadu plum, to inspire them to use some of their local materials for wheat flour to make healthy snacks for consumers.
"These people could bring the next innovations in food production."
Participant Stella Jogisaputra, the Asia Pacific technical manager for Stern Ingredients, said the program was of great value.
"The course has inspired me to look into composite flours through our enzyme company to make our bread better, more nutritious and softer," she said.
"I'm also thinking about what we could import to Indonesia, some of the native plants perhaps, and maybe we could do a collaboration on other legumes.
"Indonesia could do the manufacturing because it's so much cheaper on our side and then export it to Australia, which will benefit both countries - so many possibilities."
Dr Abdul Aziz said the plan was to expand the program in the next few years.
"If we do a good job, we will see two more sessions," he said.
"Not only are we building the future leaders of the Indonesian Grain Value Chain, but we are building a network with industry leaders in Australia to allow benefits in both directions."
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