YOGYAKARTA – The government is urged to reduce imported food policy because the policy is considered pro-businessmen and importers instead of farmers. Thus, increase of agricultural land size and development of upstream and downstream agricultural industry are required.
“Food import policy needs to be reviewed because the Government made no efforts to stop and reduce food imports,” said researcher of Centre for Food and Nutrition Studies of UGM, Prof. Dr. Ir. Umar Santoso, M.Sc., in the seminar Food Resilience which is Sovereign and Independent held by Council of Professors of UGM on Thursday, (4/7).
The professor in Agricultural Technology said that food supplies among society are dominated by imported food. Therefore, food independence cannot yet be established. Government’s commitment in upholding the goal is very minimal. “It needs a strong political will, if the government wants to establish food independence in this country,” said the professor.
Apart from food issues, food supplies in the form of calories are disproportionate. Even people’s access to food is very poor. Umar Santoso said up to 48% of population has too much calories intake while 26% lacking due to poverty. This would threaten the decrease of diverse, nutritious, balanced and safe food consumption. “The lack of nutrition intake will cause disrupted growth and health,” he said.
UGM agricultural economy observer, Prof. Dr. Ir. Masyhuri, said the decrease of national food production is due to the very limited size of agricultural lands. In average, farmers in Indonesia only has 0.5 hectare of land. “Their agricultural endeavours keep decreasing continuously,” he said.
In Thailand, the average land possession is 4 hectares per one farmer. In the U.S. and Australia, it is averagely 200 hectares. Farmers are also posed with stagnant technology and the undeveloped upstream and downstream agricultural products.
To aggravate the problem, banking credit in agricultural sector is very low at 5.5% of the total credit amounting to Rp149 trillions. Of this small figure, not all is distributed to food commodities but palm oil.