Jokowi – Maaruf Food Challenge

This article is English version from article that published in Koran Sindo 21 December 2019

Indonesia with a population of 270 million people need food supply every day. The need increases consistent, sustainable and ensured to increase annually due to high growth on its population. Underlying the fact, there are six food challenges in general should be faced by the government of the ‘ Jokowi-Ma’ruf namely the improvement of data, human resources in the food sector, climate change, institutional, shifting food demand from carbohydrate to non-carbohydrate and land consolidation.

The first challenge is the data. The validity of important food data is needed in making proper food data policy. Food data in the junction makes the policy of food inflation control ineffective regard to poor information about production and demand. The lack of data between production data and the demand makes the difficulty for government to intervene its price, especially on the commodity of nine basic materials.

At least it happened to raise rice polemic imports in 2018 ago. The rowdy raises two polar views between Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Trade. The Minister of Agriculture insisted that the rice production be safe, but on the other hand, the Minister of Trade stated it needed to import rice amid rising rice prices. Finally, imported rice was done with a magnitude of 2.25million ton of rice, the highest since 2000.

Millenial Farmers

     The second question the new government should face is seeking millennial farmers. The agricultural Census Data 2013 shows that the majority of Indonesia’s farmer (60 percent) are more than 45 years old. This fact is a crucial thing that needs to be resolved immediately to allow the availability of manpower in the agricultural sector with affordable wages can be overcome.

The third problem is the climate change. The climate change is the exogenous factor where we have to adapt it. This adaptation is certainly not cheap because it has to be coupled with a variety of research related to the invention of superior seeds and agricultural technologies adaptive to climate change.

The climate change also threat the availability of calories and nutrients for children. The report of the international Food Policy Research    Institute (IFPRI) titled    Climate Change Impact on Agriculture and Costs of Adaptation (2009) said it required an additional investment of 7.1 to 7.3 billion    U.S.  dollars to improve calorie intake for children’s health in 2050. The increase in investment is aimed at replacing and preventing the impact of climate changes to the output of agricultural crops.

Making peace with climate change is not only the work of Ministry of Agriculture as a leading sector in the field of food, but also work with other stakeholders   such as BMKG, Lapan, LIPI and private sectors in producing agricultural technologies that are adaptive to climate change. The new agricultural minister must be very open to coordinate with other K/L so that the solutions will be climate change and also other problems, can be obtained with comprehensive.

The fourth issue is institutional that manifested in the form of consolidation.  Connecting the three points above, Ministry of Agriculture must consolidate with other institutions, especially the Ministry of Trade and Ministry of Industry. Ministry of Trade for domestic distribution affairs and export/import, while the Ministry of Industry for the affairs of how to develop domestic agro-industry.

Fifth challenge, switching on food demand from carbohydrate source to noncarbohydrate. This shift will have an impact on shifting the source of inflation from carbohydrate (rice) inflation into protein inflation (egg, chicken, beef,  and horticultural products  ). This shift is in line with increasing public income (especially middle class).

The simple example is when we become students. For most students, the utility in consuming food for the author is full. Along with the income after school/collage, the pattern of consumption  will change to a non-carbohydrate variant.

Land Consolidation

The consolidation of the Land became the sixth of the reign of paddy fields in Indonesia are mostly small-sized plots < 0.5 hectares. As a result, each tile tends to have different production functions. There are different production function, so the results of each small tile vary and can be in an unoptimal result.

Examples are as follows. There are  5 plots of rice fields < 0.5 ha. Each tile is dominated by different farmers. Each farmer has different intencing in treating his fields (there are 5 production functions). First farmer, third and fifth diligent  in managing his land. On the other hand the second and fourth farmers are not diligent in managing their land. This will give different result between odd paddy field plot with even Paddy field.

If the 5 rice field tiles are merged into one, and processed in 1 supervision of farmers/farmer groups, there will only be 1 production function with a wider area of land. The harvest of the paddy fields can be optimal. Land consolidation like this allows agricultural mechanization to be more effective.

The solutions for the various challenges above are: first, the establishment of a valid food data especially for nine food items (sembako). Secondly, mechanization of agriculture in order to cope with  the least farmers in Indonesia. This mechanization is also one of the alternatives of increasing agricultural land productivity when land consolidation is carried out well.

Mechanization can also be coupled with the usage of information technology for the agricultural sector. In addition to efficiency in the agriculture sector, the use of information technology in the field of food can at least attract the millennial to contribute more to the agriculture sector. It is based on the reality of millennials having a great interest in the things that smell information technology.Third, increase the consolidation between minister or other institutions. This consolidation is especially important in order to develop an off-farm part with industrialization and distribution of crop yields that are effective and efficient. Fourth, increasing the productivity of non-carbohydrate food production to anticipate the shifting of people’s consumption patterns from heavy to carbohydrate to  non-carbohydrate.

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