Food Security and Farmers’ Welfare are the keywords in agricultural development. To achieve this, what must be supplied and completed is basic agriculture infrastructure. Minister of Agriculture, Suswono, stated this matter.
The government has done much to build agricultural facilities, paddy fields, farm roads, facilitation of agricultural machinery. But the fact is that all is still lacking and needs to be improved again.
Therefore, Suswono hoped that the budget for building the basic infrastructure should not rely on the state budget (APBN), but also the regional budget (APBD) of provinces and regencies/cities. And, there should be a lot of public investment in this basic infrastructure.
APBN budget for agriculture is very limited, therefore financing through the credit scheme program is expected to run properly. So far, credit program that has been running properly is KKPEN (Food Security and Energy Credit) for food crops, horticulture and sugarcane; KUPS (Cattle Breeding Loan) for beef cattle farming and KPEN RP (Bio Energy Development and Plantation Revitalization Credit) for oil palm, rubber and cocoa. “I hope that there is a new credit scheme to finance agricultural mechanization, because with more difficulty in getting workers in agriculture, mechanization is a necessary”, he said.
Regarding fertilizer and seed subsidy, Suswono, who failed to become legislative member in the Legislative Election this year, asked for breakthroughs related to mechanism, management, and supervision. “The budget for fertilizer subsidy is much larger than the budget for the Ministry of Agriculture. But, the fact is that fertilizers are scare and farmers have difficulty in obtaining fertilizer. I prefer the fertilizer subsidy to be remove and transferred for infrastructure building”, he said.
Because most of the agricultural land has been damaged by excessive use of chemical fertilizers, the use of organic fertilizer will be intensified. If last year, subsidy were given for organic fertilizer produced by Petrokimia and its partner, the this year subsidy for organic fertilizer processing facility, so that farmer groups are able to produce their own organic fertilizer.
Procurement of seeds, as well as the mechanism and the management needs to be improved, so that Prinsip 6 Tepat (the 6 right principles) can run properly. Agricultural development and the implementation is expected to utilize the wealth of resources with regard to economic, ecological and social equilibrium.
Agricultural development is also to strengthen the foundation in order to avoid middle income trap by increasing income and welfare of farmers as part of community. Demographic bonus is a challenge and an opportunity for the agricultural sector. The increasing number of productive-age people will provide opportunities for raising income and purchasing power so that the needs for quality and healthy food will increase. With farmland which is increasingly small, agrarian reform is a must.
Grand Strategy of Agricultural Development 2013-2045 that has been made by various experts and practitioners prioritizes development of bio-industry agriculture. The principle emphasizes on improvement of quality, added value and competitiveness of agricultural products, integrating the businesses and all stakeholders in the economic scale, vertical integration that includes both the upstream and downstream, as well as horizontal integration covering a variety of commodities and types of businesses.
Bio-industry agriculture requires an integrated management scheme, involving relevant institutions and stakeholders ranging from design, implementation, services, coaching and control. (E)
Business New - May 21, 2014