President Jokowi Urges KADIN to Take Advantage of Food Sector Opportunities
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has invited members of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN) to take advantage of opportunities in food sector.
The opportunity, he added, is available amid the food crisis due to global economic uncertainty caused by COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine.
The President delivered the statement in his directives to provincial chapters of the KADIN on Tuesday (08/23) at Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (TMII), East Jakarta.
“In any difficult situation, there will be opportunities, and entrepreneurs can take advantage of that opportunity,” the President said.
The President said that the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has hampered the supply of wheat. Ukraine produces about 77 million tons of wheat while Russia produces 130 million tons.
“It means that the total [production] of the two countries are 207 million tons. We only consume 31 million (tons) of rice per year, while 207 million tons [of wheat in Russia and Ukraine] cannot be exported. Imagine the importer countries, particularly African countries, are currently in a very difficult situation,” he said.
Global food prices as measured by the FAO Food Price Index (FFPI) are currently also increasing to reach 140.9, higher than that of food crisis in 2012 which was 132.4 and 2008 which was 131.2.
“In the beginning there were only six countries that limited their food exports, now 23 countries [did]. Every country put their national interest first,” the President said.
The President said that the current challenge is indeed to be wary of but it can also be used to increase productivity in the food sector, including rice commodity to meet domestic needs and to be exported to other countries.
“China has asked for 2.5 million tons of rice. Saudi Arabia has asked for 100,000 tons of rice for a month. Right now, we don’t opt for [the export], we have stopped the export, but once the production increases, we can do the export with a very good price,” he said.
The President also expressed his gratitude because in the midst of a food crisis, Indonesia has succeeded in improving the food security system, and achieved rice self-sufficiency in 2019.
“Two weeks ago we got a certificate from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) stating that we have maintained our food security, and achieved rice self-sufficiency in 2019. We are declared to be self-sufficient in rice and our food security system is under control when other countries are facing food shortage,” the President said.
The President also mentioned another opportunity in terms of production of commodities for import substitution. The President also emphasized the Government’s commitment to reduce imports of food commodities such as wheat and corn.
“We are still importing wheat, 11 million tons of wheat. We cannot grow wheat in Indonesia, but we can produce the mixture for wheat. We can mix [wheat] with cassava, sorghum, sago, and so on,” he said.
The President also invited the KADIN to calculate opportunities and play a role in the development of sorghum in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT).
In addition to sorghum, he added, there are also opportunities for corn commodities which have a fairly high level of demand from both domestic and overseas market.
“The demand is very high from both domestic and overseas market because our current imports of corn are 800,000 tons, whereas seven years ago we imported 3.5 million tons,” he said.
Closing his remarks, the President also encouraged the KADIN to develop the food sector with a new pattern supported by the existing technology.
“I encourage KADIN to implement mechanization, create consortium, and cultivate 100,000 hectares with modern tools, including using drones for fertilization.” the President remarked. (TGH/UN)(YC/RI)