Gov’t to Boost National Maize Production
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo Monday (08/01) ordered his administration to boost national maize production, from upstream to downstream, through several efforts such as new land clearing, land intensification and extensification, and better marketing.
“[The Government] will boost the national maize production in newly designated regions namely provinces of Papua, West Papua, East Nusa Tenggara, Maluku, North Maluku, and North Kalimantan with a total land area of 141,000 hectares and 86,000 hectares of new land area,” Coordinating Minister of Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto stated after a limited meeting at Merdeka Palace, Jakarta, Monday (08/01).
With the price of maize reaching Rp5,000 per kilogram, the President highlighted the need to increase production including the extensification of the existing land. One of the efforts made in extensification is to encourage the use of GMO or hybrid seeds. The use of hybrid maize seeds can produce between 10.6 to 13.7 million tons per hectare, the Minister added.
“There are 14 varieties, among others: Pertiwi 3F1, Bisi, NK Perkasa, Singa, Bima, Dahsyat, P36, and others. It means that this hybrid, it based on a national hybrid and later Minister of Agriculture will revise the regulations related to GMOs,” he said.
In addition, the President also urged the development of agricultural machinery which can be acquired using loan. Airlangga also stated that the Minister of Agriculture will also arrange procedures so that farmer groups can get loan for small and medium enterprises from banks.
“The KUR (People’s Business Credit) was at Rp373 trilion. Next year, we will increase it to around Rp460 trillion. So, the room is big enough to push forward the extensification,” the Coordinating Minister stated.
“The President hopes that the extensification and expansion of new land will increase national maize production so that it can meet domestic and even foreign needs,” he added.
“We know that some countries, China has a large production but its export is limited. India has a quite large export, but India can also stop the export. Therefore, it is vital for us to apply extensification so that our current 5 tons per hectare can be increased to 10 – 13 tons per hectare,” he remarked.
Meanwhile, Minister of Agriculture Syahrul Yasin Limpo stated that the Government has no longer importing maize except for industrial needs. The Minister stated that the current national maize production is above 18 million tons, exceeding the domestic demand of 14.7 million tons.
“Actually, we have enough overstock but the Coordinating Minister just underlined that the national needs are vital. After we see what really needs to be done, we will seek for next steps such as exports or increasing the needs of domestic industry,” the Minister said. (TGH/FID/UN) (FI/HD)