Bestowing Award in Middle of Rice Fields, President Jokowi Asserts Target of Self-Sufficiency in Food

By Alfurkon Setiawan
Date 28 Desember 2014
Category: News
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Bestowing Award in Middle of Rice Fields, President Jokowi Asserts Target of Self-Sufficiency in Food

For the first time since the award Adhikarya Pangan Nusantara was first bestowed in 1979, the recipients of the award received the award in the middle of rice fields. Adhikarya Pangan Nusantara is an award bestowed by the President upon a number of leading figures who have contributed very significantly to Indonesia’s efforts to attain food security, food sovereignty, and self-sufficiency in food.

President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) who presented the award on a rice-paddy dike in the Grand Center for Rice in Subang, West Java, on Friday (26/12), hinted that some recipients might be disappointed because they received the award in the middle of rice fields.

“It seems to me that some of you are disappointed because the bestowal of this award didn’t take place in the State Palace as usual. I understand your disappointment because every day you already spend your time in rice fields, but now you also have to receive the award in the middle of rice fields. I will invite you to the State Palace,” President Jokowi said and then promised that he will specially invite the award recipients to the State Palace in next January.

After bestowing the award, President Jokowi expressed his disappointment, pointing especially to the fact that this country, which is actually very rich and has very vast rice fields, must still import rice. “I’m ashamed when I met Vietnamese President in the ASEAN Summit and he asked me when I will buy rice again from Vietnam,” he said.

President Jokowi asserted that he doesn’t want to receive any questions like that anymore. For that reason, President Jokowi has instructed the Minister of Agriculture to make this country attain self-sufficiency in food, including self-sufficiency in rice, in a period of no more than three years ahead. He believes that Indonesia is really competent to attain self-sufficiency in food.

According to President Jokowi, our main problem is the low productivity. “Every time I visit regions, I always ask the question about how much rice we can yield from 1 hectare of rice fields. The answer is usually between 4.5 tons and 6 tons, and never 8 tons,” President Jokowi regretted.

President Jokowi asserted that one of the main problems of our low agricultural productivity is because there is no agriculturalist or agricultural expert who can accompany farmers in rice fields and give them technical guidance. Therefore, President Jokowi instructed Minister of Agriculture Amran Sulaiman that agriculturalists and agricultural experts should not only work at offices.

“I instruct the Minister of Agriculture that agriculturalists and agricultural experts should not only work or spend most of their time at offices. They have to work in the fields and give guidance to farmers,” he stated confirmedly.

According to President Jokowi, without any necessary technical guidance from competent agriculturalists or agricultural experts, farmers cannot be expected to make the most of their rice fields. As the consequence, Indonesia will always import rice and would fail to attain self-sufficiency in food. “I don’t want that to happen. We must compete. I’ve seen the reality in the field and I’m sure we can,” he stated.

Eight Governors

In his capacity as the Head of the Food Security Council, President Jokowi bestowed the award Adhikarya Pangan Nusantara upon eight governors who are considered successful as the guardians of national food security. The eight governors are Ahmad Heryawan from West Java, M. Zinul Majdi from West Nusa Tenggara, Irwan Prayitno from West Sumatra, Sinyo Harry Sarundajang from North Sulawesi, Anwar Adnan Saleh from West Sulawesi, Cornelis M. H. from West Kalimantan, Soekarwo from East Java, and Hasan Basri Agus from Jambi.

In the same category, ten regents and mayors, as well as ten village heads, who come from various parts throughout Indonesia also received the award.

The ten regents and mayors who received the award are Depok Mayor (West Java), Siak Regent (Riau), Pandeglang Regent (Banten), Kulonprogo Regent (Yogyakarta), Boyolali Regent (Central Java), Hulu Sungai Tengah Regent (South Kalimantan), North Minahasa Regent (North Sulawesi), Pringsewu Regent (Lampung), Kendari Mayor (Southeast Sulawesi), and South Buru Regent (Maluku).

The ten village heads who received the award are those from Sumbermulyo Village (Bantul, Yogyakarta), Mojokrapak Village (Jombang, East Java), Sokokidul Village (Demak, Central Java), Bunga Antoi Village (Merangin, Jambi), Wiratama Village (Tulang Bawang, Lampung), Aia Manggih Village (Pasaman, West Sumatra), Juhut Village (Pandeglang, Banten), Sembung Village (Badung, Bali), Sukadana Village (Cianjur, West Java), and Sumber Karya Village (Lahat, South Sumatra).

On that occasion, President Jokowi was accompanied by First Lady Iriana and Minister of Agriculture Andi Amran Sulaiman. (Humas Setkab/ES)

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