Dialogue of President of the Republic of Indonesia and Sugarcane Farmers at Temu Giring Sugarcane Plantation, Mojokerjo Regency, East Java Province, November 4, 2022

By Office of Assistant to Deputy Cabinet Secretary for State Documents & Translation     Date 4 November 2022
Category: Dialog @en
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President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
Assalamu’alaikum.

Sugarcane Farmers
Wa’alaikumsalam.

Representative of Sugarcane Farmers (Mardianto)
Thank you. Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.

Honorable President, my name is Mardianto, a farmer in Gempolkrep Sugar Manufacturer area, Mojokerto, East Java. Thank you for visiting us.

I need to inform you that during the past few years the production in our manufacturer, thank God, has been running well. Years ago, there must be machinery breakdown and such thing, but it did not happen again. Therefore, the price of sugar this year and the year before is competitive and there was no delay in payment. Previously, the payment was delayed for several months, up until March.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
Now?

Representative of Sugarcane Farmers (Mardianto)
Alhamdulillah, thank God, the transaction is smooth.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
The payment was made in how many days?

Representative of Sugarcane Farmers (Mardianto)
Five or ten days.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
How many is the sugar content?

Representative of Sugarcane Farmers (Mardianto)
It is around 8, 9 percent.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
Are you sure?

Representative of Sugarcane Farmers (Mardianto)
Yes, Sir.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
I heard it is around seven?

Representative of Sugarcane Farmers (Mardianto)
Yes, Sir.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
I’m listening.

Representative of Sugarcane Farmers (Mardianto)
Thank you, Mr. President.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
I am delighted if it is nine.

Representative of Sugarcane Farmers (Mardianto)
Yes, Sir. That is also our hope to achieve the figure of 9, 10.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
I am delighted if it is nine.

Representative of Sugarcane Farmers (Mardianto)
Yes, Sir. That is also our hope to achieve the figure of 9, 10.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
If there are new machinery, I believe we can achieve the figure of 9 or even 10 or higher. Alright.

Representative of Sugarcane Farmers (Mardianto).
The next thing, we have appropriate facilities here. We usually tell our difficulties to PTP [State-owned plantation holding company PTPN], particularly in rainy days or bad weather when we cannot transport our sugarcane. Alhamdulillah, thank God, a new vehicle was purchased, an unmanned one. I don’t know what it’s called, a vehicle that can cross muddy field to paved road.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
To cut the sugarcane?

Representative of Sugarcane Farmers (Mardianto).
No, Sir, the vehicle [to transport].

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
Where is it?

Representative of Sugarcane Farmers (Mardianto)
It’s right there. It can cross a muddy field because the truck cannot reach the area, Sir.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
Ah, the one that has wheels looking like tracks of a tank?

Representative of Sugarcane Farmers (Mardianto)
Correct. Once all cooperatives have the vehicle, it will be great. We can mill 1,200,000 tons in a year like we used to. Alhamdulillah, we would like to inform you that here is the center of sugarcane production so we need to increase it. We can produce optimally if we are supported by the facilities, particularly during rainy season given many farmers are not able to do it, while the manpower to help cutting the sugarcane is expensive and not available. Many [plantation] are located near the river, on challenging terrain, or mountains. If the problems are solved with those tools, the manufacturer will produce more optimally.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
How many units do you need?

Representative of Sugarcane Farmers (Mardianto)
At least 100. Here we have 40 cooperatives. MoU between the cooperatives covers the area of 1000 hectares, in average.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
How much is it for one unit?

Vice Minister of State-owned Enterprises (Pahala Mansury)
Minister of State-owned Enterprises has already the program, Makmur Program in which one of the objectives is to prepare machinery for agriculture, in credit scheme.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
Ok, hold on. I will check it later.

Vice Minister of State-owned Enterprises (Pahala Mansury)
Alright, Makmur Program.

Representative of Sugarcane Farmers (Mardianto)
The other thing, Sir. We would like to inform you that we will increase [production] of sugarcane so that this manufacturer will continue to remain active, and there is no problem. Years ago, farmers used to complain about broken equipment.

Now, it does not happen again. The capacity also increases that the supply of sugarcane is not enough to fill the capacity. Therefore, we increase the supply by providing better equipment. Moreover, is it possible to increase the basic price following rising fuel price?

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
How much is the price now?

Representative of Sugarcane Farmers (Mardianto)
Currently it is at Rp11,500.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
Rp11,500. Okay, I will discuss it with ministers.

Representative of Sugarcane Farmers (Mardianto)
I understand, Sir. Please calculate it to ensure prosperity of the farmers. Since the harvest season is only once a year, if it’s not optimal, it generates not much money. If you give your approval, hopefully the sugar [price] can be increased in line with the increase in spare part [price], and other.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
How many harvest season in a year here?

Representative of Sugarcane Farmers (Mardianto)
Once, Sir.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
And in the meantime, what did you plant?

Representative of Sugarcane Farmers (Mardianto)
Sugarcane has one-year lifespan.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
You only planted sugarcane?

Representative of Sugarcane Farmers (Mardianto)
Yes, Sir. Within a year, the yield…

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
I thought you also planted rice or soybean.

Representative of Sugarcane Farmers (Mardianto)
No, Sir. We only plant sugarcane. Alhamdulillah, thank God, the facilities are provided by the PTP; the seeds, fertilizers, though the price of fertilizer is quite high.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
Price of fertilizer is high in almost all countries, that is the problem. It is because the ingredients produced by Ukraine and Russia that are in a war right now.

Representative of Sugarcane Farmers (Mardianto)
The issue about ZA (fertilizer) has been solved. But I still think other manufacturer can help us by sending the fertilizer.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
Have you tried planting the new (variety)?

Representative of Sugarcane Farmers (Mardianto)
Not yet, Sir.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
How about the existing one that has been planted for 26 days?

Representative of Sugarcane Farmers (Mardianto)
That variety can produce 2,000 [quintal] or 200 tons for 1 hectare of land.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
How about the usual yield?

Representative of Sugarcane Farmers (Mardianto)
It would not reach that figure, that’s why we must follow this step.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
I see. The variety has been tested in Brazil and it was a success. Earlier, Dr. Plinio Nastari (Brazilian sugarcane researcher) said that nitrate fertilizer and potash fertilizer are not needed considering that the soil quality here is fertile. It is not needed, he said. Usually in Brazil, the sugarcane grows two trunks, while in Indonesia it grows four or five trunks. It’s amazing. He expressed optimism that it also showed a better result than Brazil as long as we follow his instruction. May it result in good yield, from the previous one. How much was it?

Representative of Sugarcane Farmers (Mardianto)
From 1,500 [quintal] to 2,000 [quintal], Sir.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
It is such a huge increase from 1,500 [quintal] to 2,000 [quintal].

Representative of Sugarcane Farmers (Mardianto)
Yes, Sir. Once we can reach 2,000 [quintal], we will visit Jakarta to meet you.  

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
Yes, we’ll see. I also want to see the result, will the statement from Dr. Plinio realize or not. He indeed had planted in in Brazil and it was a success.

Representative of Sugarcane Farmers (Mardianto)
Alhamdulillah, Mr. President. It is really amazing to meet you here. May Allah bless us. Amen. Me and my friends pray for you, for the prosperity of Gempolkrep and the farmers. Alhamdulillah, we are grateful that today’s event ran smoothly. Alhamdulillahirobbil alamin. Thank you very much, Mr. President. Thank you.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
You’re welcome. How many hectares can a farmer own here?

Representative of Sugarcane Farmers (Mardianto)
The average is 10 [hectare], 25 [hectare], the largest is 100 [hectare]. If we don’t own large plots of land, it will not be enough for the consumption. It is because harvest season is only once a year. We wait for one whole year to harvest it. If we only own one hectare, it would not enough. There is certain calculation for planting. In order to raise children who attend school, they need to plant a certain meters. It will not be enough if they only cultivate small land since the harvest season is only once a year. It is way better to choose other plant. So, considering the adequate land is important.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
Comparing to maze or rice, is it still better to plant sugarcane in term of profit?

Representative of Sugarcane Farmers (Mardianto)
It depends on each individual. The benefit of planting sugarcane is the convenience. After planting the seeds, we can leave it and go to Kalimantan, when we return it’s already harvest season. If we plant rice, we need to go to the paddy field each morning.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
To take care of it?

Representative of Sugarcane Farmers (Mardianto)
Yes, so there are pros and cons, Sir.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
You’re very bright.

Representative of Sugarcane Farmers (Mardianto)
Thank you, Sir.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)
Thank you everyone.

(RAS/MMB)

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