Remarks of President of the Republic of Indonesia at the Briefing to Central Java Farmers, in Banyumas Regency, Central Java Province, January 2, 2024

By Office of Assistant to Deputy Cabinet Secretary for State Documents & Translation     Date 2 Januari 2024
Category: Remarks @en
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Bismillahirrahmanirrahim.

Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

Good afternoon,

May prosperity be upon us all.

Distinguished Ministers of the Indonesia Onward Cabinet, also present here with me Minister of Agriculture, Minister of Public Works and Public Housing, Minister of Transportation;

Distinguished Leaders and Members of the House of Representatives;

Distinguished Commander of the Indonesian National Defense Forces also present here with me; please stand up, Mr. Commander;

Distinguished [Acting] Governor of Central Java and the regents, especially Regent of Banyumas;

Distinguished farmers and farmer groups present here this afternoon. Please give more enthusiastic applause. Good afternoon to all farmers and farmer groups who are present here this afternoon. That’s it, thank you for your enthusiastic applause.

Distinguished non-commissioned village supervisory officers (Babinsa) and public order advisory officers (Babinkamtibmas) present here;

Distinguished fertilizer retailers also present here this afternoon, along with the Directors and Board of Directors of PT Pupuk Indonesia (a state-owned fertilizer-producing enterprise);

Distinguished Village Heads also present here this afternoon, farmers representing the Forest Village Community Associations (LMDH) whose presence here is reported to me by the Minister of Agriculture;

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen.

Every time I visited villages to meet farmers since 2020, they always raised the same complaint, namely fertilizer, especially subsidized fertilizer, right?

There is something about it that you should know, Ladies and Gentlemen. The world is in an uncertain economic position and the economic uncertainty has caused world financial crisis, world food crisis, world energy crisis, all of them due to COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, 96 of more than 200 countries have become the IMF’s (the International Monetary Fund’s) patients. That means the countries are not in good condition. We all should know that COVID-19 has caused many countries to collapse, weakened their economies, and made their finances turn bad. Imagine, 96 countries. Almost half of the countries in the world today are in such a condition.

We must be grateful. Thank God. After COVID-19, our economy can recover again. This is what we must be grateful for.

In February 2020, COVID-19 broke out and, still at the beginning of 2020, Russia-Ukraine war broke out too. While COVID-19 wasn’t over yet, Russia-Ukraine war went on. I went there in June 2020, seeing firsthand how the war really made the population and the citizens suffer.

We also have to be grateful, our country is peaceful, no problems arise. That’s right, you have to be grateful for that. We have just recovered from COVID-19, while war in developed countries still goes on, the Ukraine war.

When I went to Ukraine, I didn’t think it would have an impact on all countries. What happened? When I met with President Zelenskyy, the President of Ukraine, he told me, “Sir, Ukraine has to stop the export of its 77 million tons of wheat. It cannot be exported because the ports are often attacked with bombs, so that the safety of ships can’t be guaranteed. As the result, they don’t dare to export and the wheat is stuck in Ukraine.”

After meeting with President Zelenskyy, I met with the President of Russia, President Putin. We talked for three hours. He also said that Russia could not export its 130 million tons of wheat either. This means that people eating wheat in many countries lose their staple food. Let’s imagine, 77 tons plus 130 tons means 207 million tons of wheat was stuck in Russia and Ukraine. I thought at that time, thank God, Indonesians eat rice, their staple food is rice.

But apparently, we learn that the main materials for fertilizer come from Russia and Ukraine. Don’t boo me, this is a fact. Those materials are also difficult to leave Ukraine and Russia. The unavailability of main materials makes the fertilizer price go up. That is the problem, Ladies and Gentlemen, Brothers and Sisters. That’s it.

That is what makes us struggle so hard to ensure that main materials for fertilizer are always available and sufficient. But Pupuk Indonesia (a state-owned fertilizer producer) is a company, right? If it has to buy the materials with high prices, it will have to sell its products with high prices too. The story is more or less like that, so you may know everything. Therefore in 2024, I have instructed the Minister of Finance to increase subsidies for fertilizer. According to our calculations, Rp14 trillion must be added to cover the fertilizer shortage in the field. However, Ladies and Gentlemen, people and farmers also have to know that such a proposal for increasing subsidies must be approved by the House of Representatives. This is what we haven’t done yet. Wait a minute. I suppose that the Minister of Agriculture have already submitted the proposal and the Ministry of Finance will also push for its immediate realization.

Earlier, I’ve called the Director of Pupuk Indonesia and asked how our fertilizer stock is at the start of this year. The subsidized fertilizer stock is very ready. We still have to make efforts for the second semester. It means that the Rp14 trillion is reserved for the second semester. For now, the fertilizer stock is already prepared by Pupuk Indonesia. I have asked about it directly, not to the Minister but to the Director. There are 1.7 million tons of fertilizer, of which 1.2 million tons are subsidized, while the other 500 thousand tons are unsubsidized. This is what we hope to make fertilizer no longer a problem. I don’t want to hear such a problem again. Agree?

Earlier, the Minister of Agriculture also said that you can buy fertilizer using your Farmer’s Card, and you can also use your Resident Identity Card (KTP). Agree? Because Central Java’s agricultural production is below our target, then our target for Central Java is to return this province to the second place again. Agree? Those who disagree raise your hands, come forward. Agree? OK. That’s it, let’s return Central Java to the second place again like at the beginning. Therefore, our productivity and our production will increase again. Anything about fertilizer will be up to the Minister of Agriculture and the President Director of PT Pupuk Indonesia. I’ll check it later. I will definitely check in the field what I’ve said. Is what Pupuk Indonesia said true or not? Is it ready for its implementation in the field? I don’t want to get a report saying that it is fine, but in fact, it is not fine. That’s true, isn’t that? Yes, that’s what we want to do. Later, when the Rp14 trillion has been approved, I will inform you, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Then secondly, later in the field you will also be accompanied by the Babinsa (non-commissioned village supervisory officers) and agricultural counselors, so that you can learn the right way to plant and use fertilizers. The agricultural counselors have been trained for a month on how to use fertilizers effectively, as fertilizer should be used in such a proper way. All use of fertilizer must really be calculated because fertilizer is currently not easy to find in the world, so it must be used very precisely.

In other developed countries now, fertilization is carried out using drops. They drip the water and the fertilizer because they need to save water and fertilizer as much as they can. Not like in […] where the water and the fertilizer are spread everywhere. The use of fertilizer is really calculated, because fertilizer is not cheap now. If it is cheap, everyone can easily spread it everywhere. Now fertilizer is expensive. Its price in the world is already high.

We hope not to import rice anymore. But in fact, it is very difficult because our rice production always falls short. Because of what? Every year our population increases, there are more people to feed with the addition of 4 million to 4.5 million new born babies. Everyone needs to eat. Our current population is almost 280 million people. They all need rice.

But thirdly, thank God, we must also be grateful for this. I remember that in 2015, our corn imports were 3.8 million tons, now it’s only 800 thousand tons. This means that our farmers succeeded in increasing their corn production so that we didn’t need to import the three million tons of corn. I have to give thumbs up to the farmers who grow corn.

Therefore, we have to boost our rice production, so that we don’t need to import rice any more. But I know this must be carried out in stages. For example, the first stage of this year’s planting perhaps will not fulfill the target, but hopefully the second stage will achieve the target again. Because now countries that produce rice won’t sell their rice. Twenty-two countries have stopped and reduced their rice exports. They no longer want to export rice, because they need to use their rice as a strategic reserve for their own people. They want to save their own people. We should do the same. We have to produce rice, then if there is some excess of the production, it will be used for the government’s strategic reserves. If other countries need it, that’s okay, they can buy it but the price will be high. That’s what we will do. However, we must increase our production. If our production always decreases, then what will we sell? OK? We must agree on all those plans, okay?

Now those who know Pancasila by heart, raise your hands. Those whom I’ve pointed at, please come forward. Those whom I haven’t pointed at, don’t come forward. That one wearing a hat, please come forward. For the second question, please wait a moment. Please come forward, directly. Are you a farmer? Oh, yes, you are.

The other one should be a woman, a woman farmer. Please name three kinds of fertilizer. That’s it, go ahead. Just a moment. Let me point at one of you, then you can come forward. Are you a farmer? Here, come forward. Come here, ma’am.

Please introduce yourself first, Sir. Say your name.

Farmer 1 (Mr. Fuad from the Kalikidang Farmer Group, Sokaraja District, Banyumas Regency)

Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)

Wa’alaikumsalam warahmatullahi wabarakatuh. Your name, please.

Farmer 1 (Mr. Fuad from the Kalikidang Farmer Group, Sokaraja District, Banyumas Regency)

My name is Fuad, I’m from the Kalikidang farmer group, Sokaraja District, Banyumas.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)

Mr. Fuad from Banyumas. OK, recite Pancasila straight away. Pancasila, first …

Farmer 1 (Mr. Fuad from the Kalikidang Farmer Group, Sokaraja District, Banyumas Regency)

Pancasila.

First, Belief in One Almighty God;

Second, Just and Civilized Humanity;

Third, Indonesian Unity;

Fourth, Democracy Led by Wisdom in Deliberation/Representation;

Fifth, Social Justice for All Indonesian People.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)

OK, please take the bike as the gift. Go ahead. Now ma’am, introduce yourself, say your name.

Farmer 2 (Ani Dwi Astuti from Tambak District, Banyumas Regency)

Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)

Wa’alaikumsalam warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.

Farmer 2 (Ani Dwi Astuti from Tambak District, Banyumas Regency)

My name is Ani Dwi Astuti from Tambak, Banyumas.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)

Mrs. Ani from Tambak, Banyumas. OK, Mrs. Ani, name three types of fertilizer that you know. The first one?

Farmer 2 (Ani Dwi Astuti from Tambak District, Banyumas Regency)

Urea.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)

Urea fertilizer. Wait a moment. The first one is urea fertilizer. The second one?

Farmer 2 (Ani Dwi Astuti from Tambak District, Banyumas Regency)

Phonska.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)

What’s that? The first one is urea fertilizer, what is the second one?

Farmer 2 (Ani Dwi Astuti from Tambak District, Banyumas Regency)

Organic.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)

Organic fertilizer, right? That’s right. The third one?

Farmer 2 (Ani Dwi Astuti from Tambak District, Banyumas Regency)

Phonska.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)

Is that right, Sir? Mr. President Director said it was right. OK, Mrs. Ani, you can take the bicycle as the gift.

Farmer 2 (Ani Dwi Astuti from Tambak District, Banyumas Regency)

Thank you, Mr. Jokowi.

President of the Republic of Indonesia (Joko Widodo)

Yes, Mrs. Ani, the bicycle is worth a car, you know. It’s not actually the bicycle which is worth a car, but because it bears the notice that reads “President Jokowi’s Gift”. That is what makes the bike expensive. OK, Ladies and Gentlemen, does anyone else still want a bicycle? Unfortunately, we only bring two bicycles.

I think that concludes my remarks on this good opportunity. And, I instruct Mr. Regent and Mr. Governor to always monitor field conditions, report them to the Minister, report them to me, especially conditions related to fertilizer so that we can ensure even distribution of fertilizer to farmers, farmers will no longer have complaints about fertilizer, and our agricultural production will increase. Agree?

I think that concludes my remarks on this good opportunity. I hereby close this meeting.

Wassalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.

(TM/LW)

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