The Jakarta Post
Switzerland is committed to increasing investment in Indonesia, as more Swiss companies are coming here to conduct business, Swiss ambassador to Indonesia Heinz Walker-Nederkoorn said recently.
“Switzerland’s investment in Indonesia so far has reached more than US$7 billion,” he said Monday in Medan, North Sumatra.
“This makes Swiss investment in Indonesia the fourth largest in Asia, after Japan, Singapore and China.”
Walker-Nederkoorn was on a three-day visit to North Sumatra, meeting with provincial and
regional leaders and visiting PT Aquafarm Nusantara’s operations on Lake Toba.
The ambassador met, among other people, interim North Sumatra governor Gatot Pujo Nugroho and regents from the area where the fishery operates.
Walker-Nederkoorn added that the fishery was one of 75 Swiss companies operating in Indonesia and that more would soon open.
For example, perfume and flavor maker Firmenich would soon open up shop in South Jakarta, while cement maker Holcim will add two more cement factories in Indonesia, he said.
Zurich Insurance would also re-enter the Indonesian market, the ambassador added.
As for North Sumatra, Walker-Nederkoorn said that Switzerland had a large amount of investment in the province, especially in the fisheries sector, when compared to other provinces.
Swiss investment in fisheries in Indonesia reached $30 million, with 75 percent managed by PT Aquafarm Nusantara, which breeds nila ( tilapia ) fish. The remaining investment is in West Java.
The company is located in Serdang Bedagai regency and around Lake Toba. It started operation in 1998 and employes 5,000 people in the region.
Aquafarm produces some 25,000 tons of tilapia fish every year making North Sumatra the second largest tilapia producer after West Java, president director Freek Huskens said.
“Most of the product is shipped to European countries and the US,” he said.
Freek added that the company was routinely audited by independent agencies for its efforts to ensure water quality on Lake Toba.
“We are open for audit because the fishery firm is run according to European export requirements, which prioritize environmental sustainability,” he said.
Some environmental NGOs have expressed their concerns that the fishery may contaminate Lake Toba.
Responding to the accusations, Walker-Nederkoorn said that all activities related to natural resources would be scrutinized by NGOs.
He said that the fishery had been tested and the results were well below the threshold.