Tue, 25 May 2010

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has called for continuous national attention to food resilience despite the country`s success in achieving self-sufficiency in a number of prime food commodities.

In remarks at the opening of a conference of the National Council for Food Resilience 2010 here on Monday, he said there were at least six reasons why Indonesia should keep watching its food resilience situation. One of the reasons , he said, was that food was part of man`s basic needs.

He said although the government had already made various efforts to achieve food self-sufficiency, it must continue to prioritize food resilience because there was no substitute for food.

Yudhoyono said Indonesia should pay attention to food resilience also because food demand continued to increase in line with world population growth.

"Across the world demand for food is increasing from the middle class who consume more food. So it is not only the population that grows but also food demand from certain segments of the community," he said.

The third reason why food resilience needed constant attention was environmental damage by climate change, he said.

He said competition to gain access to food and energy sources was now also getting tighter, parallel to competition between the use of corn as food and as an energy source which could disrupt food supply.

Yudhoyono mentioned the link between trade and global logistics as the fifth reason for the need to pay attention to food resilience. He said "everytime rice producers face problems, a food crisis occurs, which immediately affects other countries in the world," he said.

The last reason was the fact that Indonesia was still vulnerable to disruptions in food supply. "There are still such vulnarabilities in various regions," he said.

President Yudhoyono on the occasion also laid down the target of hike in production of a number of prime food products for 2014 such as rice which was expected to reach 76 million tons in 2014, corn 29 million tons, soybean 2.7 million tons, sugar 5.7 million tons and cow meat 0.55 million tons.

The bi-annuaal conference this time was themed "Increasing Regional Commitment to Development of Food Self-Sufficiency and Speeding Up Food Consumption Diversification."

The theme was chosen based on a survey of the Council in 2009 which showed that the degree of regional administrations` activity and commitment to the management of food resilience development was not yet optimal.

Before delivering his speech, President Yudhoyono symbolically presented 2009 Food Vulnarability and Resilience Maps to the governors of Central Java, Papua, West Kalimantan and district heads of Timur Tengah Selatan in East Nusa Tenggara and Minahasa, North Sulawesi.

He said regional heads must always understand the food situation in their respective regions.(*)