Remarks of President of the Republic of Indonesia on the Opening of the 4th Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) National Working Meeting at JI EXPO Kemayoran, Jakarta, September 29, 2023
Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.
May peace be upon us all,
Greetings of Virtue.
Distinguished 5th President of the Republic of Indonesia and General Chairperson of the PDI-P, Mrs. Prof. Dr. Hj. Megawati Soekarnoputri;
Distinguished Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia, Mr. Prof. Dr. KH. Ma’ruf Amin;
Distinguished Chairperson of the Republic of Indonesia’s House of Representatives, Mrs. Puan Maharani;
Distinguished Secretary General and all the ranks of the central, regional, and branch offices of PDI-P, and factions who are present this afternoon and the entire PDI-P family;
Distinguished Ministers of the Indonesian Onward Cabinet whom I cannot mention one by one;
Distinguished General Chairpersons of the PPP Party, Mr. Mardiono, Hanura Party, Mr. Oesman Sapta Odang, and Perindo Party Mr. Hary Tanoesoedibjo.
Ladies and Gentlemen.
The theme of the 4th PDI-P National Working Meeting is currently very relevant to the situation we are facing. It is not something that is very easy to resolve because it is about the threat of climate change, which is real and which we really feel in our lives today.
The increase in earth temperature, drought everywhere, long dry seasons, has caused crop failure. And Super El Nino which occurs in seven provinces in our country also affects the food supply. The first is the threat of climate change, the second is related to world geopolitics, which also affects food supplies. The war in Ukraine, despite far from us, has affected the supply of wheat. As Mrs. Mega conveyed earlier, we imported 11 million tons of wheat and almost 30 percent of it came from Ukraine and Russia because they are the largest wheat producers in the world.
When I met with President Zelensky, he told me that 77 million tons of stock had stopped in Ukraine because of the war. When I visited Russia, I met with President Putin, he also told me that in Russia there were 130 million tons of wheat that could not be exported due to maritime security. This means that the total wheat of the two countries that cannot be exported is 207 million tons. So what is happening now is that in Africa, Asia, and Europe itself, food shortages are real and occurring. Prices have risen drastically and even yesterday I read the news, in one developed country in Europe, many school children no longer have breakfast. Those who usually have breakfasts now don’t have them because of a shortage of food, because food is expensive.
Third, what is currently happening that has caused the increase of food prices is that nineteen countries are now no longer exporting food. In fact, this morning I read that not 19, but 22 countries are now no longer willing to export their food, including rice. There are Uganda, Russia, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Myanmar, most recently, which will also not export its food. If this continues to happen, the prices of all basic food commodities will rise.
So once again, I really agree with what was said by the General Chairperson, Mrs. Mega. Everyone agrees. And even more agree with what the presidential candidate Mr. Ganjar Pranowo said. I whispered to him earlier. “Sir, after being inaugurated, the next day you must immediately focus on food sovereignty. So that we can truly have food self-sufficiency, food security, food sovereignty. It’s horrifying to hear the fact that all countries now putting the brakes on not exporting food. Wheat, rice, sugar, everything is stopped.
Therefore, in the next five years, the next ten years, we must have a tactical vision. It is not necessarily a grandeur vision and mission, but a tactical vision. We must have a detailed work plan. And I’m sure Mr. Ganjar is able to solve this.
We know that our population is 278 million. Our current population is 278 million. The world also has more than 8 billion people, and will continue to grow. In 2030 it is estimated that our population will reach 310 [million] because our population growth is 1.25 percent per year. This means that once again, food is the key. As stated by Bung Karno, food is the life of a nation. That is absolutely true. He has experienced the issues that we are currently experiencing.
Once again, in the next five years, ten years, we must have a tactical vision, a detailed plan, we must have a detailed plan. So it is clear how many reservoirs we have to prepare, how many kilometers of irrigation we have to prepare. There must be a detailed plan and when we will be able to complete it. We will probably have around 61 new reservoirs until next year. Our total number of reservoirs today is 230, meaning we will have approximately 300 reservoirs in total next year. It’s still very small compared to those of South Korea and China, it is not even 10 percent of theirs. This means that we still need to work hard to complete the food-related infrastructures.
That concludes my remarks on this auspicious occasion.
I thank you.
Wassalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.