Tue, 01 Feb 2011

TEMPO Interactive, Jakarta:Agriculture Minister Suswono is confident that Indonesia can face the food security crisis by creating food-resilence, assuring the availability, accessibility and equitability of distribution.

The Agriculture Ministry is certain that Indonesia’s food stockpile will be sufficient because the country has abundant natural resources and it has a huge potential to create new rice fields. The new rice fields are also aimed at balancing land conversions which can threaten climate change in the future.

Based on the ministry’s records, about 100.000 hectare of land will be converted per year. But he is sure that the actual number in the field will be higher because several hectares of land were lost due to the conversion into housing and the construction of roads and office buildings.

For that reason, Suswono plans to extend land space by creating a minimum of two hectares of new rice fields every year. As much as 350.000 hectares will be used for sugarcane plantation, 500.000 hectares for soy and the rest for other commodities such as rice. “I hope that it could cover our imports,” he said.

Suswono also assures that Indonesia is ready to face the food crisis because the country is located in strategic equatorial areas consisting of fertile lands. However, threats of extreme weather conditions that can occur in Indonesia and several countries must be monitored.

However, agriculture expert from the Economic Political Association, Khudori, thinks that the country’s food security is a temporary condition, because the Agriculture Ministry’s program to expand lands often face obstacles.

According to Khudori, this is caused by the nature of each ministry. The Agriculture Ministry often faces difficulties when asking permission to the Forestry Ministry to convert land for food produce.