July 15, 2019




Indonesia – Ultimate in Diversity


Overview[1] [2]

Official name Republic of Indonesia
Capital Jakarta
Area 1.9 million km² (land: 1.8 million km², water: 93,000 km² )
Regional States:

regencies and municipalities have become the key administrative units responsible for providing most government services in accordance with decentralization which began in 2001

31 provinces: Bali, Banten, Bengkulu, Gorontalo, Jambi, Jawa Barat (West Java), Jawa Tengah (Central Java), Jawa Timur (East Java), Kalimantan Barat (West Kalimantan), Kalimantan Selatan (South Kalimantan), Kalimantan Tengah (Central Kalimantan), Kalimantan Timur (East Kalimantan), Kalimantan Utara (North Kalimantan), Kepulauan Bangka Belitung (Bangka Belitung Islands), Kepulauan Riau (Riau Islands), Lampung, Maluku, Maluku Utara (North Maluku), Nusa Tenggara Barat (West Nusa Tenggara), Nusa Tenggara Timur (East Nusa Tenggara), Papua, Papua Barat (West Papua), Riau, Sulawesi Barat (West Sulawesi), Sulawesi Selatan (South Sulawesi), Sulawesi Tengah (Central Sulawesi), Sulawesi Tenggara (Southeast Sulawesi), Sulawesi Utara (North Sulawesi), Sumatera Barat (West Sumatra), Sumatera Selatan (South Sumatra), Sumatera Utara (North Sumatra)

1 autonomous province: Aceh

1 special region: Yogyakarta,

1 national capital district: Jakarta Raya

Population 262,79 million
Demographic structure 0-14 years: 24.63% (=64,725609)

15-24 years: 16.94% (=44,513270)

25-54 years: 42.44% (=111,530370)

55-64 years: 8.73% (=22,941401)

65 years and over: 7.26% (=19,076753)

Life expectancy Average: 69.4 years (men: 67 years, women: 71 years)
Currency (1.2019)[3] Indonesian Rupiah – IDR (1$ = 14194.8 IDR, 1 € = 16193 IDR)
Official national language Bahasa Indonesia (official, modified form of Malay),
Additional Major languages English, Dutch, local dialects (most widely spoken Javanese);

more than 700 languages are used in Indonesia

Ethnic groups Javanese (40.1%), Sundanese (15.5%), Malay (3.7%), Batak (3.6%), Madurese (3%), Betawi (2.9%), Minangkabau (2.7%), Buginese (2.7%), Bantenese (2%), Banjarese (1.7%), Balinese (1.7%), Acehnese (1.4%), Dayak (1.4%), Sasak (1.3%), Chinese (1.2%), other (15%)
Religion Muslim (87.2%), Protestant (7%), Roman Catholic (2.9%), Hindu (1.7%), other (0.9%) (includes Buddhist and Confucian), unspecified (0.4%)

 Indonesia – a land of a very high civilization, a thousand islands, rainforests and a diverse group of languages

The world’s third most populous democracy, the Republic of Indonesia, is located in the southeast of Asia and is the largest archipelagic state worldwide with a population of about 263 million people. 55.3 % of them live in urban areas, the major concentration is on the island of Java with the capital Jakarta. Indonesia is said to be the world’s largest Muslim-majority nation where more than 700 languages are used.[4] As a comparison, its population is roughly greater than half of the EU’s.[5]


Indonesia’s human history dates back about 1.5 to 1.8 million years, evidenced by the Homo erectus fossil “Java Man”, which was discovered in 1891. The ancestors of most of the modern Indonesians arrived around 4000 years ago.

The first kingdoms were Hindu kingdoms and were influenced by traders from India, they appeared on Java and Sumatra in 300 BC. On the same islands, Buddhists also ruled over some areas in the early centuries of the current era. The powerful Buddhist kingdom, Sriwijaya, developed on Sumatra in the 7th century. It had lots of Indonesia under control until the conquest by Hindu Majapahit Empire in 1290. Most of modern-day Indonesia and Malaysia was united under the power of Hindu Majapahit who also controlled the trade routes. In the meantime, in about the 11th century, Indonesia was influenced by Islamic traders and Islam was spreading throughout the country with the exception of Bali.

In the 16th century, the Portuguese controlled some parts of India for a short time until the more powerful Dutch joined the spice trade in the early 17th century and began to colonize Indonesia. The Dutch colonization brought Indonesia together under one government – the Dutch East Indies. The Dutch East Indies existed roughly until 1900, when nationalism grew. In 1942 Indonesia was occupied by Japan until 1945. Until 1949 Indonesia had to fight a four-year independence war although it had declared its independence already in 1945.

The first president of Indonesia was Sukarno, he ruled the country from 1945 until 1967. Then Suharto followed and ruled until 1998. Since 2000 Indonesia has free and fair elections. The actual president of Indonesia Joko Widodo was elected in the last election in 2014.

Economics and Development[7]

Indonesia is Southeast Asia’s economic powerhouse. The service sector is the largest sector, it employs 47 % of the population and accounts for 45.4 % of gross domestic product (GDP). The second largest sector is the industrial one with 41 % of GDP and an employment rate of 21 %. It includes different products like petroleum and natural gas, textiles, automotive and electrical appliances, apparel, footwear, mining, cement, medical instruments and appliances, handicrafts, chemical fertilizers, plywood, rubber and jewelry. The agricultural sector employs 32 % of the population and accounts 13.7 % of the GDP. Examples for agricultural products are rubber, palm oil, essential oil, poultry, forest products, beef, shrimp, fish, cocoa, coffee, medicinal herbs and spices.

Indonesia is also a member of the G20 group of economies and one of the few nations whose economy grew even during the global financial crisis in 2008 and 2009. It is a market economy but the government is the owner of significant amounts of the industrial base. The main Indonesian export goods are textiles, petroleum products, appliances and rubber. The main import goods are food, machinery and chemicals.

The unemployment rate is approximately 5.4 % but about 11 % of the population live below the poverty line. Beside poverty and unemployment, Indonesia has to deal with inadequate infrastructure, corruption, a complex regulatory environment and unequal resource distribution throughout the country. President Joko Widodo focusses on the development of the maritime resources as well as the development of the infrastructure, mainly the electrical power generation capacity. Therefore, fuel subsidies were reduced in 2015 and used for priorities regarding development. Indonesia is one of the ten ASEAN members who will participate in the ASEAN Economic Community.

Link to the SAMS project[8]

Although Indonesia’s economy does not depend on the agriculture, many people are employed in this sector. The human resource as well as the huge potential of Indonesia’s natural resources, the tropical rainforests with a variety of plants, can be used more effective to improve livelihood, create new jobs along the value chain of honey and to change Indonesia’s current import position of honey.

SAMS pursuits are to support small-hold beekeepers through open source technology and a user-friendly interface to improve the management of bee colonies and minimize the effort of the activities to concentrate on income sources around the bees, participate in economic activities and generate demand for products. Driven by the User Centered Design SAMS is an apiary management service based on three pillars:

  1. Development of modern modular monitoring hives adapted to the local context
  2. Development of a cloud-based decision support system (DSS) to implement a management advisory service for beekeepers
  3. Development of adapted bee management guidelines based on an ICT concept

UCD is the main concept to develop soft- and hardware components, which are easy to use and therefore a main success factor for technology implementations. The UCD process will ensure, that the ICT solutions and developed concepts and services within SAMS are based on specific user needs related to different contexts of use so that the target user groups really benefit from the system. To fulfil this goal, the system needs to be conceived, developed and continuously refined based on the actual requirements of future users and their context of use. Based on the three pillars SAMS also aims to foster gender equality in employment and the literacy and educational levels of the target communities will be addressed especially by SAMS.

Important facts for SAMS[9]

Literacy rate, adult (% ages 15 and older) 95.4 %
Inequality in education (%) 16.5 %
Gender Inequality Index (GII)

achievement between women – men in three dimensions: reproductive health, empowerment and labor market

Employment in agriculture (% of total employment) 32 %
Unemployment, youth (% ages 15–24) 15.6 %
Youth not in school or employment (% ages 15-24) 21.5 %
Refugees by country of origin (thousands) 7
Internet users, total (% of population) 25.4 %
Broadband – fixed subscriptions: (2017)[10]  143.26 million

 Honeybees and their connection to religion

The abundance of prehistoric, mythological, religious, cultural and historical traces of bees and their products is immeasurable. Humans always found the honeybee as the crown of creation. The wonders inspire many people and many religions. Therefore, Allah mentioned the bee in the Quran and Muslims appreciate the valuable food very much.[11]

{وَأَوْحَىٰ رَبُّكَ إِلَى النَّحْلِ أَنِ اتَّخِذِي مِنَ الْجِبَالِ بُيُوتًا وَمِنَ الشَّجَرِ وَمِمَّا يَعْرِشُونَ ﴿٦٨﴾ ثُمَّ كُلِي مِن كُلِّ الثَّمَرَاتِ فَاسْلُكِي سُبُلَ رَبِّكِ ذُلُلًا ۚ يَخْرُجُ مِن

بُطُونِهَا شَرَابٌ مُّخْتَلِفٌ أَلْوَانُهُ فِيهِ شِفَاءٌ لِّلنَّاسِ ۗ إِنَّ فِي ذَٰلِكَ لَآيَةً لِّقَوْمٍ يَتَفَكَّرُونَ}

(“And thy Lord taught the bee to build its cells in hills, on trees and in people’s habitations… there issues from within their bodies a drink of varying colors, wherein is healing for humankind. Verily in this is a Sign for those who give thought.”)

Also in the Christian church the bee as well as its products, honey and wax, are assigned particular significance. A legend says, “When Christ was crucified, his blood dripped to the ground; attracted by the sweetness of the red drops, bees flew by and collected the blood of Christ.” Thus, honey becomes the symbolic bearer of the blood of Christ and the Holy Scripture. The bee, on the other hand, who only feeds honey, which she gathers herself without damaging nature, embodies the believing Christian, who receives the word of God and gives it selfless.[12]

Beekeeping and Bee-Health in Indonesia[13]

Indonesia is the fourth most populated state on earth, spread on more than 17.000 islands with tropical rain forests and Mangrove forest. This high population number underlines the need for a highly developed apicultural sector, which produces natural products for human nutrition and other purposes and could make a living for many people.

In Indonesia beekeeping is still considered to be “second class farming” and therefore the beekeeping sector is still small. Official data on the total number of beekeepers or numbers on the amount of hives for Indonesia do not exist, but the Indonesian Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS) provided information on beekeeping with Apis mellifera in West Java. According to this data the number of hives in West Java was 7,141 in 2016. The data has been put in context with the official numbers of the total population size (West Java) and the total country area (West Java) resulting in 0.202 colonies/ km2 and 0.000153 colonies/ capita[14].

The current performance of the apiculture sector in Indonesia is low and developing slowly as beekeeping is not a priority in the governmental program. This aspect also leads to a weak beekeeper rate, a low rate of professional processing, support and marketing and a lack of professional interconnection with bee products processing companies.

The situation of honey bee species and beekeeping differs from that of the European Union and Ethiopia. Indonesia is one of the global hotspots of autochthonous Apis bee species diversity. Traditionally, the Eastern honey bee Apis cerana is managed, but similar to many other Asian countries, in recent years it has been replaced by the introduced Western honey bee Apis mellifera. Little is published about the appropriateness of Apis mellifera for the Indonesian environment and the interactions of the introduced bee species with native bee species in Indonesia regarding competition for resources or spillover of honey bee pests. Whereas knowledge on beekeeping with Apis cerana is traditionally available, hive management techniques for Apis mellifera in Indonesia need to be developed. Additionally, other Apis species, for example Apis dorsata are used for honey hunting in some regions of Indonesia. Therefore balancing beekeeping with the introduced Apis mellifera and the native honey bee Apis cerana is probably the biggest challenge for Indonesian honey production. Next to the Apis bee species, Indonesia uses bee products from meliponine (stingless) bee species, such as bees from the genus Trigona[15].

Unfortunately, neither FAO, nor other statistical providers give any data on Indonesia’s honey production. However, it is estimated, that Indonesia needs 3,750 t of honey per year, while there is a supply of only 500-2,000 t per year[16]. De Jong (2000) estimated the honey production in the region of Kalimantan (based on beekeeping with “honey boards”) between 53 kg and 267 kg per beekeeping operation (family) per year[17]. Official figures for Indonesia suggest a very low per capita consumption of honey, but honey obtained from honey hunting is likely not to be included in official statistics. According to the data on honey import and export available from FAOSTAT Indonesia is a net importer (mostly from Asia)[18].

For Indonesia, there is little information available about beekeeping, bee forage or honey bee health in general. Nevertheless, it is considered, that some problems are very similar to the ones in Ethiopia, for example absconding of honey bees, the lack of knowledge about beekeeping practices, bee forage problems, lack of storage facilities, lack of infrastructure, lack of market facilities, and the use of pesticides.

The objectives of SAMS, capacity building and training are major points to improve the management of bee colonies and to increase the beekeeper rate, create jobs especially for the youth and for women and to improve the research and knowledge about beekeeping.

SAMS does not only address bee-management but also bee-health topics. In Indonesia, bee health is not investigated as thoroughly as it is for example in the European Union or in North America and there are even more knowledge gaps about bee health than in Ethiopia. There are different pests and pathogens present in Indonesia. Most methods for pest control focus on ants and wax moths but little information on commonly applied treatments against honey bee pests is available and national honey bee health programs do not exist. Thus, field research on honey bee health and the occurrence of pests and parasites, for example honey bee viruses, as well as training of beekeepers or extension workers in disease recognition and dissemination of control methods will support to fulfil the mentioned targets and to enhance the bee resilience to various external factors.

As it can be seen the apiculture sector has a huge unused potential which can be linked easily to other sectors and markets and improve livelihood through new income opportunities for rural and urban households. In addition, local and international SME businesses and start-ups can be strengthened and sustainable businesses and services around the honey value chain can be established. Furthermore, SAMS will also reinforce cooperation and strategic partnerships between EU and Indonesia on different levels.

For more details see SAMS report: D.5.1 Bee-Management and Bee-Health Indicators in Ethiopia and Indonesia



[0] Flag: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_Indonesia
Map: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/maps/asia/indonesia/

[1] http://hdr.undp.org/en/countries/profiles/IDN (access: 21.1.2019)

[2] https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/resources/the-world-factbook/geos/id.html (access: 21.1.2019)

[3] https://www.xe.com/currency/idr-indonesian-rupiah (access: 18.1.2019)

[4] https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/resources/the-world-factbook/geos/id.html (access: 21.1.2019)

[5] Statista (access: 21.1.2018) https://www.statista.com/topics/921/european-union/ (access: 21.1.2019)

[6] References:

  1. https://www.thoughtco.com/indonesia-facts-and-history-195522 (access: 21.1.2019)
  2. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-pacific-14921238 (access: 21.1.2019)

[7] References:

  1. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/resources/the-world-factbook/geos/id.html (access: 21.1.2019)
  2. https://www.thoughtco.com/indonesia-facts-and-history-195522 (access: 21.1.2019)


[8] https://sams-project.eu/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/D.5.1_Bee-Management-and-Health-Indicators.pdf (access: 22.1.2019)

[9] http://hdr.undp.org/en/countries/profiles/IDN (access: 22.1.2019)

[10] www.teknopreneur.com (12.2018)

[11] The Religion of Islam. URL: https://www.islamreligion.com/articles/10321/liquid-gold-benefits-of-honey/ (access: 08.10.2018)

[12]Imkerei Heiser. URL: https://www.heiserimkerei.de/imkerei/geschichtliches/ueber-bienen.html (access: 08.10.2018)

[13]https://sams-project.eu/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/D.5.1_Bee-Management-and-Health-Indicators.pdf (access: 22.1.2019)

[14]BPS – Badan Pusat Statistik Indonesia (2008). URL: https://www.bps.go.id/ (access: 12.06.2018)

[15] References:

  1. Gupta, R. K., Reybroeck, W., van Veen, J. W., & Gupta, A. (2014). Beekeeping for Poverty Alleviation and Livelihood Security: Vol. 1: Technological Aspects of Beekeeping. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands. URL: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-017-9199-1
  2. Anderson, D. L. (1994). Non-reproduction of Varroa jacobsoni in Apis mellifera colonies in Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. Apidologie, 25(4), 412–421. URL: https://doi.org/10.1051/apido:19940408
  3. Theisen-Jones, H., & Bienefeld, K. (2016). The Asian Honey Bee (Apis cerana) is Significantly in Decline. Bee World, 93(4), 90–97. URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/0005772X.2017.1284973
  4. Roubik, D. W. (2005). Honeybees in Borneo. In D. W. Roubik, S. Sakai, & A. A. Hamid Karim (Hrsg.), Pollination Ecology and the Rain Forest (Bd. 174, S. 89–103). New York: Springer-Verlag. URL: https://doi.org/10.1007/0-387-27161-9_8
  5. Hadisoesilo, S., Raffiudin, R., Susanti, W., Atmowidi, T., Hepburn, C., Radloff, S. E., Hepburn, H. R. (2008). Morphometric analysis and biogeography of Apis koschevnikovi Enderlein (1906). Apidologie, 39(5), 495–503. URL : https://doi.org/10.1051/apido:2008029
  6. Hadisoesilo, S. (2001). Diversity in traditional techniques for enticing Apis dorsata colonies in Indonesia. In: Proceedings of the 37th international congress. Apimondia, Durban.
  7. Tanaka, H., Roubik, D. W., Kato, M., Liew, F., & Gunsalam, G. (2001). Phylogenetic position of Apis nuluensis of northern Borneo and phylogeography of A. cerana as inferred from mitochondrial DNA sequences. Insectes Sociaux, 48(1), 44–51.

[16] References:

  1. Roman, A. (2006). Effect of Pollen Load Size on the Weight of Pollen Harvested from Honeybee Colonies (Apis mellifera L.). Journal of Apicultural Science, 50(2).
  2. Widiatmaka, W., Wiwin, A., Chandrasa, E. S., & Lailan, S. (2006). Geographic Information System and Analytical Hierarchy Process For Land Use Planning of Beekeeping in Forest Margin of Bogor Regency, Indonesia. Jurnal Silvikultur Tropika, 7(3), 50-57.


[17] De Jong, W. (2000). Micro-differences in Local Resource Management: The Case of Honey in West

Kalimantan, Indonesia -a Brief Comment. Human Ecology, 28(4), 631-639.

[18] FAO (2018). FAOSTAT database collections. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Rome. Access date: 12.06.2018. URL: http://faostat.fao.org