Food sufficiency cannot be in an instant despite the Government’s infrastructure development programs in the past 4.5 years, according to President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.
“It takes process to achieve self-sufficiency, food resilience, and food sovereignty,” the President said in his remarks at the opening of the Indonesian Farmers Association’s (HKTI) National Coordination Meeting and Discussion, at the State Palace, Jakarta, Tuesday (19/3).
The President cited an example of corn price during his visit to Dompu, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) in 2014 in which the price dropped to Rp1,400-Rp1,600/kg, while the cost of production reached Rp1,800/kg.
“It would be in vain if the production per hectare is abundant but the price falls,” the President said, adding that the fall in corn prices in 2014 was due to huge imports amounting to almost 3.6 million tons.
However, Indonesia’s corn import, he added, has decreased significantly to 180,000 tons in 2018 thanks to the increasingly rapid corn production from our farmers.
The Government, he continued, has also issued a Presidential Regulation which stipulates the cost of goods sold (HPP) of corn at Rp2,700/kg that benefited the farmers. He added that same treatment could also be applied to other import commodities.
However, the President reminded that until early 2011, Indonesia only had 235 reservoirs, meaning that only 11 percent of rice fields and gardens that could be irrigated. Even after 65 new reservoirs have finished their construction this year, he added, it would only increase the water supply to 20 percent.
“Do not talk about food security, food sovereignty, and self-sufficiency if these (reservoir) issues have not been resolved. We must dare to invest in this sector,” he said.
On that occasion, the President called on farmers to begin focusing on the post-harvest management such as provision of rice milling unit, packaging devices, branding and labeling. According to him, profits in agriculture and plantation sector are on the post-harvest.
The President also encouraged farmers to form corporations comprising cooperatives, farmer groups in large number, adding that farmers also need loans from banks to purchase tools. Therefore, he called on state-owned lenders to provide assistance in providing loans for farmers. (FID/JAY/ES)
Translated by: Muhardi
Edited by: M. Ersan Pamungkas