On the eve of the 34th commemoration of World Food-Crop Day, the Agriculture Ministry of Indonesia has promise to improve the country’s irrigation system to support President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s campaign promise to achieve food sufficiency.

Gatot Irianto, the ministry’s director general for agricultural facilities, said Wednesday that proper irrigation infrastructure was one of the key factors in achieving higher productivity in the sector.
“The president’s approach to food sovereignty hinges on the development of irrigation channels,” Gatot said on the sidelines of an spontaneous visit to an irrigation construction project in Bendoro village, in the regency of Sidrap, South Sulawesi, on Tuesday.

The country faced the risk of decreased rice output for this year and 2015, announced by the Central Agency on Statistics Of Indonesia. There forecast for rice production estimated to decline by 0.94 percent, or 670,000 tonnes, compared to the same period last year due to droughts and floods in a number of cultivation areas, such as Java, Sumatra, and western Nusa Tenggara.

Also there is a prediction that other crops could see an increase in productivity of up to 3.33 percent, with a corn output of 19.13 million tonnes and a soybean output of 921,340 tonnes.

Inspite, BPS noted that a decline in rice production could have an effect on rice supply, resulting in price increases. Indonesia has a population of 250 million, and consumes 137kg of rice per capita per year. It is considered one of the world’s biggest rice consumers.

Statistics also show that rice accounted for 0.03 percent of the 0.47 percent increase in inflation in October 2014.

The recently introduced Minister of Agriculture, Amran Sulaiman, announced a set of national targets and measures to increase food production, including rice, corn, and soybeans, in a bid to become self-sufficient within the next 3-4 years.-VNA