Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Agriculture Minister Anton Apriantono denied certain quarters` allegation that Indonesia was highly dependent on imports to meet its food needs, saying that these needs were mow mostly being fulfilled with domestic products.
"Indonesia is now able to produce most of its food needs such as rice, sugar, maize, potato, chicken and chicken eggs. Indonesia is now even able to export some of the products," the minister said.
He said imports were done only in the case of goods not produced at home such as commodities produced by countries situated in sub-tropical areas. This was because it was impossible for Indonesia to produce such commodities.
A number of observers said earlier that Indonesia had fallen into the "food trap" of advanced nations. This was reflected by the fact that for seven main (non-rice) products Indonesia was highly dependent on imports.
Four of the seven commodities are wheat, soybean, high-quality chicken meat and chicken eggd whose stocks observers said were critical.
The minister admitted Indonesia was importing wheat, soybean and beef but the volumes were not too big.
On the opinion that Indonesia had been trapped by multi national corporations, Apriantono said almost all countries were dependent on multinational firms.
He said Thailand was also importing agricultural commodities to meet its domestic needs such as maize. Its maize imports were bigger than Indonesia`s.
The minister said Indonesia`s agricultural sector was not worse than those of other countries. Some of Indonesia`s commodities were even better than those of other countries and had became world reputed products such as palm oil, cocoa and rubber.
Referring to the opinion that Indonesia`s research in the agricultural field was still weak, the minister conceded this , saying it was caused by budget constraints.
Yet, he said, research activities at home had led to the invention of many excellent plant varieties such as hybrid rice.