Jakarta, The Gulf Observer: President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has promised to increase the government’s fertilizer subsidy to respond to complaints from farmers regarding fertilizer scarcity that they are experiencing.
According to Jokowi, the issue of fertilizers will be resolved by Agriculture Minister Andi Amran Sulaiman soon, and next year, it will continue to be handled effectively to prevent problems related to on-field distribution.
“I will increase the fertilizer subsidy because the fertilizer supply is available,” he stated at an event attended by Central Java agriculture extension workers and Indonesian Military’s village supervisory non-commissioned officers (Babinsa) in Pekalongan, Central Java, on Wednesday.
However, the president stated that he could not as yet reveal the amount of the increase in the fertilizer subsidy, as it had to be discussed further with the finance minister and should be approved by the House of Representatives (DPR).
He further explained that the government has simplified the procedure for farmers to obtain subsidized fertilizers.
If earlier, farmers had to show a Farmer Card in order to get subsidized fertilizers, currently, in certain areas, they only need to show their ID card to obtain subsidized fertilizers.
“I have approved for the purchase of fertilizers, as long as (the word) farmer is written on the ID card, it can be used (to get subsidized fertilizers). Thus, they can use a Farmer Card or ID card,” he stated.
Jokowi considered that focusing on resolving the fertilizer issue is important in order to increase food production in Indonesia.
In addition, expanding farmers’ access to subsidized fertilizers is also expected to be able to reduce the impact of the El Nino phenomenon that resulted in the import of agricultural products.
Agriculture Minister Andi Amran Sulaiman had stated in early December that efforts need to be made to reduce rice imports next year because, currently, in 2023, Indonesia’s rice imports have reached 3.5 million tons.
He also called on farmers to accelerate planting, so that Indonesia can revive by laying a strong foundation to achieve self-sufficiency.