Rector of IPB University: Economic Stimulus for Farmers is Important in the Pandemic Era COVID-19

The adoption of the Large-Scale Social Restrictions (PSBB) policy has had an impact on the agriculture and fisheries sector. Actually if you look at it from the supply side, starting from May to August it is still relatively safe. Based on food production data, for medium rice, garlic, sugar, chicken eggs, chicken meat, beef and so on are relatively safe.

This was conveyed by Prof. Dr. Arif Satria, Rector of IPB University in an online discussion held Bitter Coffee with the theme "Food Security in the Pandemic Era COVID-19", 19/04. Also attending was M Riza Damanik, PhD, Special Staff of the Ministry of Cooperatives and SMEs, Zulficar Mochtar, Director General of Capture Fisheries, Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, and M Muchlas Rowi, Independent Commissioner of Jamkrindo.

"The problem now is that many restaurants are closed, restaurants are closed, market hours are limited, more and more malls are closed. So this problem is supply chain, logistical distribution problem. So at the farmer level, although production is not a problem, it has been widely reported in various places, the selling price on the market has fallen. Even lower than the cost of production, "said Prof. Arif.

Furthermore, Prof. Arif said, if prices at the farm level fall, then revenue also falls. Meanwhile, if income falls, this will be a problem for planting the next season, because farmers need capital. Not only that, the problem also impacts on the ability of farmers to pay off People's Business Credit (KUR). So even though there is KUR relaxation, he hopes that the realization can be effective in the field so that it can help farmers pay credit before.

In addition, Prof. Arif also suggested three important things to do. First, the government must immediately make a food alertness protocol when the country experiences a national disaster, such as the current COVID-19 pandemic. Second, ensuring the availability of stock and distribution runs smoothly for the next three months.

"But more importantly, we must make simulations, post-August scenarios, during recovery. So when there is a problem of farmers' welfare, then post-August does not mean we are free from Corona and then the problem is solved. It is precisely this post-recovery if not prepared from now on will become a problem. These need effective steps to be able to help them, "said Prof. Arif.

The government must also make an affirmative policy for the protection of farmers and villages as a basis for food production. According to him, the stimulus for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) needs to be expanded in scope. By creating a social safety net for farmers and fishermen during this pandemic, special stimulus is needed for agriculture and rural areas.

"So this stimulus in my opinion is very important. So we must fight together to get new schemes from the Ministry of Finance and the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs. Because at this time if we see, 73.13 percent of villages in Indonesia, the people depend on the agricultural sector. 60 percent of poverty is also dominant in rural areas. So it is clear, that the absence of a special economic stimulus policy for the agriculture and fisheries sector will certainly open up the rate of poverty in the countryside will increase, "said Prof. Arif.

Regarding logistics, Prof. Arif said, when in villages in various places there was an oversupply, logistical problems would occur. According to him, this can be overcome by the presence of the role of SOEs to immediately fill cold storage so that production prices do not fall too much.

"For rice it is indeed relatively safe because there is Bulog. But for vegetables and fisheries, cold storage is needed. IPB University is currently fostering 70 farmers around the campus to carry out the process. These farmers simply supply it, we store it in cold storage and then we distribute it to several supermarkets and sell it directly to consumers through the Rumah Sayur application. So this supply chain and logistics become very important to overcome. Hopefully if there is an alert BUMN, it can become a logistics agent. This can help, "he explained. (IAAS/NAS)

Published Date : 20-Apr-2020

Resource Person : Prof Dr Arif Satria

Keyword : Rector of IPB University, Economic, Agriculture and Rural Stimulus, COVID-19 Pandemic