President Jokowi Praises Agriculture Minister for Stopping Rice Import
Date 5 Januari 2017
At the opening of the 2017 National Working Meeting on Agricultural Development at Bidakara Hotel, South Jakarta, on Thursday (5/1), President Joko Jokowi Widodo applauded Minister of Agriculture Amran Sulaiman for the success of not importing rice since September last year.
Usually in September and October we already have a limited cabinet meeting to address shortage of rice supply or to discuss measures to control the price, for example regarding how much we have to import to control the price. However, we didnt face such issues last year, President Jokowi said.
For the record, rice production in 2016 reached 79.14 million tons, or increased by 11 percent compared to the production in 2015. With such amount produced, Indonesia is considered to have been successful in achieving rice self-sufficiency and does not have to import rice anymore in 2017.
However, President Jokowi said that the Minister is expected to remind each region to focus on planting one type of plant, instead of mixing it with other types.
President Jokowi cited Dompu Regency in West Nusa Tenggara in which the region only focuses on planting corn. Once a region focuses on planting corn, then focus on that. However, they have to set a clear target. If the target cannot be reached, we should look in the problem(s), the President said.
President Jokowi also hopes that agricultural sector can be developed to bring common welfare for the people so when production increases, the Government will take measures to spur the growth in the downstream sector to make derivative products to be exported.
We hope that if we have production surplus, we can export the products, President Jokowi said, answering to reporters questions after the meeting.
President Jokowi added as one of the keys to boost agricultural products, water becomes the focus of the development in the agricultural sector in 2017. Therefore, the President added, the Government has set a target of building more than 30,000 retention basins in 2017. We expect to build more than 30,000 retention basins this year, the President said.
As of 2016, the Government, through Ministry of Agriculture, has built 3,771 retention basins in a number of regions in Indonesia.
On that occasion, President Jokowi also told Minister of Agriculture, Minister of Villages, Development of Underdeveloped Regions, and Transmigration, as well as Minister of Public Works and Public Housing to focus on improving irrigation system and fixing the broken ones, be it primary irrigation, secondary irrigation and tertiary irrigation. If this (irrigation) issue can be addressed and water can irrigate paddy fields, I believe it will significantly increase our agricultural products, the President added.
President Jokowi further said that retention basins are needed, especially during the dry season and if water supply is short, the people cannot do production during the dry season.
Also attending the event were Minister of Villages, Development of Underdeveloped Regions, and Transmigration Eko Sandjojo, Minister of Trade Enggartiasto Lukito, Presidential Chief of Staff Teten Masduki, and Commander of the Indonesian National Defense Forces (TNI) General Gatot Nurmantyo. (RMI/JAY/ES) (EP/YM/Naster)