President pushes large-scale agricultural development

Jakarta (ANTARA) – The agricultural sector must be developed on a vast economic scale, on the lines of food estates, through optimal use of infrastructure and technology to increase production and reduce imports, President Joko Widodo has said.

“We have to build an area with an economic scale. It cannot be small anymore, that is why I encourage food estates to be completed. At least this year, in North Sumatra, Central Kalimantan [food estates] will expand,” Widodo said at the opening of the 2021 National Agricultural Development Working Meeting at the State Palace in Jakarta on Monday.

The President emphasized that the development of the agricultural sector can no longer be carried out in a conventional and routine manner, rather, it requires breakthroughs and innovations.

He said he wants food estate development to be completed this year; that way it can serve as a model for other regions.

“(It needs to be built) on a large scale. It is not effective if we produce a little bit, it will not affect anything with the import,” he explained.

The President also drew attention to the scale of food imports, which is still large. The agricultural development carried out so far has not succeeded in releasing Indonesia from import needs, he noted.

“Soybeans can grow well. Why don’t our farmers want to plant them? Because the price is lower than that of imported soybeans. Farmers are told to sell at import prices, and production prices do not meet that, so they must be [grown] in large quantities so that they [farmers can] fight import prices,” he said.

The President gave directives to solve the problem of production as it would require Indonesia to grow a number of food commodities, such as garlic, sugar, corn, soybeans, and other commodities.

“Look for land suitable for soybeans. Do not look for one hectare, two hectares, look for 10 hectares, 100 thousand hectares, 500 thousand hectares, one million hectares. The corn business looks for land that can still be planted on a large scale. This will solve the problem. If we merely carry out routine practices, seeds, they are indeed important. But if we can prepare large amounts of land — that will solve the problem,” he explained. (INE)

Source: Antara News