Towards National Farmer's Day 2022, Professor of IPB University: Are Farmers Prosperous and Local Food Sustainable?

Towards National Farmers Day 2022, the welfare of farmers and the sustainability of local food are still issues that are often discussed. Prof. Dwi Andreas Santosa, Professor of IPB University from the Faculty of Agriculture (Faperta) also responded to the policies and challenges of local food sustainability and agroecology in Indonesia.

According to the Food Security Index, Indonesia is at the bottom, in the last three years it has continued to decline. In 2019, Indonesia's Food Security Index was in position 62, while in 2020 it fell to rank 113. This position is number one from the bottom.

For Prof. Dwi Andreas, this is surprising because the Indonesian government was given an award by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) related to food and agriculture, especially starch.

"So we are actually facing a very serious problem. Natural resources and resilience are important for how we are able to meet food needs in the future," he said in the Webinar on Local Food, Agroecology and Sustainability Challenges for Farmers Welfare by FIAN Indonesia, (19/9).

On the other hand, he continued, the condition of rice production for the last 20 years has two data. Based on data from the Ministry of Agriculture (Kementan), rice production seems to always increase every year. Meanwhile, the summary of data from various sources and the latest technology such as satellite imagery and international data shows different results. Production data released by the Central Statistics Agency (BPS) and the Ministry of Agriculture at the same time show a significant difference of up to 40 percent.

“Based on these data, the growth is only 0.67 percent per year, unable to match the population growth which reached 1.4 percent. In the previous administration, rice growth was helped by the climate, especially in 2007-2010, which experienced La Nina for four consecutive years. So there is a sharp increase in production," said Prof Dwi Andreas.

The head of the Biotech Center at IPB University added that during the current administration, rice production growth actually decreased by 0.35 percent. Even during the last three years, Indonesia had experienced a La Nina climate or wet dry season. However, it is not able to increase rice production.

"So you can imagine that our (food) condition is actually not good," he criticized regarding the award from IRRI. However, said Prof. Dwi, when viewed from the development of the price of dry-harvested unhulled rice at the farmer level over the last three years, the trend continues to decline. Only in the last two months there has been a sharp spike, according to survey data from the Indonesian Farmers Technology Education Association.

“Is this the reason why our rice production, especially in the current government, is declining, is it because our farmers are lazy to plant rice? This is a danger," he added.

Prof. Dwi then revealed that the development of import volume has also increased within 10 years for eight main commodities. Although rice production is not sufficient, food needs are still being met due to the wheat policy. Namely a policy that shifts rice to be replaced by wheat. The contribution of wheat to this staple food is estimated to have a proportion of up to 50 percent by 2050.

“Rice is not replaced by local food, but wheat. While wheat is 100 percent imported, this is a big issue related to Indonesia's food security and sovereignty in the future," he said.

In addition, said Prof. Dwi, the lowest income is also owned by farm workers, so that the next generation of farmers is getting worse. Farmers' conditions have not improved over the last 50 years. The use of land by farmer brothers also often suffers losses, especially since the land area is getting narrower.

“The number of farmers is decreasing for sure, but in Indonesia the number of small farmers at the household level is increasing. Food security and food sovereignty are contradictory in terms of concepts and ideologies. What should be fought for is people's or household agriculture and agroecology," he concluded. (MW/Rz) IAAS/ELS

Published Date : 22-Sep-2022

Resource Person : Prof Dwi Andreas

Keyword : Professor of IPB, Indonesian Agriculture, Food Security, Food Sovereignty, Agroecology, Local Food