Tue, 05 Apr 2011


INDONESIA'S coordinating Minister for the Economy Hatta Rajasa is encouraging a total agricultural productivity improvement, with work on both the agribusiness and agro-industry, he said last week.

Indonesia is currently facing declining food supplies due to extreme weather. From 2008 to 2009, food production grew by more than five percent and by 2pc last year.

Agricultural productivity has been impeded by the decreasing size of agricultural areas in Java as more land is converted into housing and industry areas. Food stability is as important as energy stability, stressed Hatta. However, achieving a food stability system requires work from grassroots up, he added.

He believes the welfare of farmers can be improved through agricultural land ownership.

"If the land is less than 2000 square metres, farmers' welfare will not be achieved," Hatta said.

He also called on the Agriculture Minister to immediately intervene to help farmers whose fields were affected by extreme weather. Agricultural lands damaged by pests or flooding can be provided with seeds, fertilisers and funds.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned that high global food prices would occur over the next few years. Rising food prices will be caused by global land, water and energy scarcities. Oil prices which have continued to rise following political riots in the Middle East have also caused inflationary pressure on food prices.

The increase in food prices has also been exacerbated by flooding in Australia, Pakistan and parts of India. Droughts in China, Argentina and East Europe have also affected supply. The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said the food price index was 236 points in February, the highest in the past two decades.

Measures to increase productivity, said the food plants director general, Udhoro K. Anggoro, have been conducted using technological instruments, such as improving cultivation, increasing the amount of primary seeds and training farmers.

The government has targeted agricultural productivity to increase to 5.3 tonnes/hectare from the previous 5.1t/ha. As for rice in particular, the government has set a production increase target of 70.6 million tonnes of ground dry rice grain.