Land conversion is still a major problem in the agricultural sector in Indonesia. Land conversation causes agricultural land in Indonesia to shrink, even less extensive than Thailand which is less populated. In terms of land ownership per family, it is classified as the lowest in the world, especially rice fields and plantations. Land size is only 0.03 hectare per capita. “Land conversion in Indonesia is very alarming”, said Didik J. Rachbini, Chairman for the institute for Economic Study, research and development (LP3E) of Indonesia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN Indonesia), in Jakarta on Tuesday (June 25).
Didik said that in contrast to ownership of plantation land by large private companies of foreign corporations. He said that land conversion in Indonesia has reached 113,000 hectare per year. Quoting data of KADIN, size of agricultural land Indonesia only reached 7.75 million hectares with a population of 240 million people. This is only a quarter of land area owned by Thailand which reached 31.84 million hectares with a population of 61 million people. An other problem is the slow land clearing or new land opening.
The government, in this case the, in this case the ministry of agriculture, cannot run the new land opening program. Didik saw that the development and opening of new land is very slow and difficult to realize and Rp2 trillion for land clearance by the ministry of agriculture is not maximized. In Indonesia, there is still a lot of potential land that has not been functionalized approximately 30 million hectares of potential land could be used to increase agricultural and plantation productivity.
Many agricultural lands has not been utilized properly. These lands consist of seasonal upland, annual, swamp and non-swamp wetland. Didik added that of the total potential land availability, must of them are located in Papua, while in Java are almost non-available. According to him, increasing the productivity of the agricultural sector must be by opening land on certain islands.
The local government is also blamed for the lack of availability of agriculture land for local farmers. The local governments are considered to provide land more often to large businesses. In fact, the local governments could share the land properly. For example, several thousand acres for farmers and other parts to large companies. So far, the central government has been coordinating with the local government. But in practice, it still happens. According to him, this policy should be returned to the central government. “We should not be simply self-sufficient, there should also be a lot of land”. He said
If the issue of land conversion is not immediately addressed, Indonesia may become world’s net importer of food. As long as productive land is not maintained properly, eventually Indonesia should depend on the source of raw materials form other countries. Actually, Indonesia already has laws on agricultural land protection, but the conversion of agricultural land to industrial/residential land continues to occur. So he suggested that there should be an active role of the local government as stipulated in regional regulations, especially the regulations on agricultural land protection.
He hopes that the local government can comply with law no. 41/2009 on protection of agricultural land and plantation. Local government should immediately establish agricultural land through regional regulation. Currently, there are many food centre areas, which are supposed to be surplus are starting to degrade with the placement of sustainable agricultural land only to meet the needs o its own citizens. (E)
Business News - June 28,2013