News Focus – Rice self-sufficiency award from IRRI gift for Indonesia’s 77th anniversary

News Focus – Rice self-sufficiency award from IRRI gift for Indonesia's 77th anniversary
Indonesian President Joko Widodo received an Award from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) which was handed over by the Director General of IRRI Jean Balie, at the State Palace, Jakarta on Sunday (August 14, 2022). (The Indonesian Cabinet Secretariat)

Jakarta (Indonesia Window) – The Indonesian government has received an award from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) for the former’s good food security system and success in being self-sufficient in rice for the 2019-2021 period.

Indonesia’s Minister of Agriculture Syahrul Yasin Limpo said that the award was a gift for Indonesia’s 77th Birthday.

“This is the biggest gift on the 77th Birthday of the Republic of Indonesia because the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) gives an award to the President of the Republic of Indonesia,” the minister told a press conference after accompanying the president to receive the award at the State Palace here on Sunday.

Syahrul added that this award is a form of international recognition of the Indonesian agricultural and food system.

“(IRRI) has recognized a strong and self-sufficient agricultural and food system for the 2019-2021 period through the use of technology and innovation in various aspects of agriculture,” according to the minister.

Indonesia has even succeeded in building various dams and irrigation systems which become benchmarks for the presence of strong agriculture, he said, adding that this achievement was obtained through the integrated hard work of all parties.

“Earlier, the President also said that today’s gift is an acknowledgment and world award from IRRI for the integrated work of all parties, not only the government, more specifically farmers, by using various systematic (and) structured strategies for facilities and infrastructure, cultivation, as well as agricultural technologies, including prime varieties, balanced fertilization, agricultural mechanization, pest control that have also been carried out,” he explained.

The minister added that IRRI and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have also given recognition to the provision of People’s Business Credit (locally known as KUR) which is quite massive for the agricultural sector.

“This is a matter of pride for all farmers and all agricultural stakeholders as well as the National Food Agency. Of course, this is a stronger impetus for us to work more synergistically in the future,” he said.

On that occasion, the minister also emphasized that his party continues to improve the readiness of the national food security to anticipate the global food crisis.

“Next year we must prepare even more strongly because no one can predict the situation and conditions, both natural and geopolitical developments,” he said.

Rector of the Bogor Institute of Agriculture (IPB) Arif Satria assessed that Indonesia’s success was achieved due to three things, namely intensification, extensification and diversification programs besides the development of prime varieties.

Arif said that Indonesia’s rice productivity currently occupies the second position in Southeast Asia.

“This is a very good thing. If this is maintained, (and) continues to be encouraged, I think we should be optimistic that we can not only be food independent, but also become a rice exporter,” Arif opined.

“Thanks to FAO and also IRRI for always supporting the Indonesian agriculture,” Arief stated.

Meanwhile, Director General of IRRI Jean Balie said that he is happy to be in Indonesia to celebrate the country’s achievement in the agriculture sector.

“On this occasion, I handed over a plaque to President Jokowi as a form of recognition and congratulation on Indonesia’s success in achieving rice self-sufficiency and improving the national food security system,” he said after presenting the award to President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) at the State Palace here on Sunday.

The award was titled ‘Acknowledgment for Achieving Agri-food System Resiliency and Rice Self Sufficiency during the 2019-2021 period through the Application of Rice Innovation Technology’.

On that occasion, President Joko Widodo also expressed his gratitude to all the people, especially the farmers who have worked in the rice fields.

“I would like to express my deepest gratitude, especially to the real actors who work in the rice fields, the Indonesian farmers, for their hard work of course, the regents, governors, the Ministry of Agriculture that all work together with research from universities, higher learning institutes that we have,” the president said.

This is an integrated work, collaborative work, mutual cooperation, (but) not just by the ministry alone, President Jokowi said after receiving the award.

According to him, since 2015 the Indonesian government has been actively building infrastructure in the agricultural sector, such as dams, reservoirs, and irrigation networks.

“As far as I remember, 29 large dams have been inaugurated so far and this year 38 dams will be completed. And by 2024 we will complete approximately 61 dams plus 4,500 reservoirs, and 1.1 million irrigation networks that we have built over the past seven years,” he noted.

The improvement of agricultural infrastructure accompanied by the use of prime rice varieties as well as intensification and extensification programs spurred an increase in rice production in Indonesia so that the country succeeded in becoming self-sufficient.

In 2019 rice production in the country was 31.3 million tons, the same amount as production in 2020 and 2021. As for the rice stock owned by Indonesia until the end of April 2022, based on data from the Statistics Indonesia (BPS), it reached 10, 2 million tons.

“This is the reason why today we were given a certificate that Indonesia is considered to have a good food security system and is food self-sufficient,” he explained.

Reporting by Indonesia Window

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