AGRICULTURE Minister David Littleproud has embarked on a three-day trip to Indonesia to strengthen trade ties, while lobbying its government to sign up to Australia's ag visa program.
The trip will culminate in the signing of the Indonesia-Australia Memorandum of Understanding on Agricultural Cooperation, which Mr Littleproud said would "lay a strong foundation for our strategic agriculture relationship in the years to come".
Two-way trade has boomed since the two countries signed a free-trade deal in 2020. Agriculture, fisheries and forestry topped $4 billion in 2020-21 and it's export market is worth $2.9 billion to Australian farmers.
The trade increase has been so prolific, Indonesia has climbed from Australia's fifth-largest trading partner, to its fourth largest in the past financial year.
"Increasing that trade is an invaluable opportunity to put more high-quality food on tables in both our nations," Mr Littleproud said.
"Indonesia is a highly respected agricultural partner for Australia and that relationship will continue to go from strength to strength."
Mr Littleproud will also meet with the Indonesia ministers, including the Minister for Agriculture and the Coordinating Minister of Economic Affairs, where he will continue to promote Australia's ag visa.
Of the four South East Asian countries the visa has been pitched to, Indonesia is the only one that wanted to identify itself as being in negotiations.
The visa has officially been operating since October and the government expected workers on farms by the end of 2021, however negotiations have hit a hurdle.
Mr Littleproud blamed the Australian Workers Union, who have warned embassies about signing up to the program with stories of seasonal workers abuse.
Foreign Minister Marise Payne has promised one or two countries will agree to the new visa by the end of February.
Mr Littleproud will also visit the largest integrated flour mill in Indonesia, which is one of Australia's single largest agricultural commodity customers in Indonesia.
"It's businesses like these where the rubber really hits the road-where our premium produce is transformed into popular consumer products in global demand, like the world-famous Indomie noodles," Mr Littleproud said.
Love agricultural news? Sign up to our free daily newsletter and start your day with all the latest in ag.