MUHAMMADIYAH.OR.ID, JAKARTA – The Indonesian government should make structural affirmative policies to help farmers escape poverty. The Chairman of Muhammadiyah Anwar Abbas mentioned farmers in Indonesia are often perceived as second or third-class citizens.
“We need to assist and support farmers, and encourage innovation and modern technology,” said Answe Abbas, acting as a keynote speaker at the Public Lecture on Training and Outreach for Pro-Pak Tani (the Corporate Food Crop Area Development Program by the Minister of Agriculture on Thursday (June 22) conducted by the Faculty of Agriculture of Universitas Muhammadiyah Jakarta (UMJ) and the Faculty of Agriculture of Universitas Muhammadiyah Sumatra Barat (UM Sumbar) in collaboration with the Minister of Agriculture.
Anwar identified a paradox in Indonesian agriculture. On the one hand, agricultural production is abundant. On the other hand, the government imports food. Due to a lack of structural support, including agricultural innovation and technology assistance, agricultural production and farmers’ livelihoods become less profitable.
“It’s a paradox. Political interests often take precedence over farmer interests,” said Anwar Abbas.
Furthermore, a teaching staff of UM Sumbar Rizqa Sepriyanti Burano highlighted that in 2022 many farmers lived below the poverty line. This is attributed to small cultivated lands, a lack of creativity among farmers, and a limited entrepreneurial mindset, resulting in lower incomes but high expenses.
To address those issues, Rizqa recommended that farmers embrace hydroponic farming innovations. Small plots of land should allow the production of larger quantities of agricultural products. Farmers can also sell their yields by leveraging digital technologies, such as digital marketplaces.
Moreover, a teaching staff of UMJ Elfarisna hoped that the government would pay sustained attention to three aspects of the agricultural sector: ecology, social aspect, and economy. For one reason, it’s estimated that a decline in food production will occur by 2050 due to climate change and rapid population growth.
Elfarisna suggested cultivating unused land, implementing irrigation systems for arid areas, improving the tissue culture of food crops, diversifying food sources, and optimizing the role of farmers.
Acknowledging the inputs, the Director-General of Food Crops and Horticulture at the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Indonesia Suwandi assured that the government has recognized those issues and is committed to providing solutions. Furthermore, Indonesia is planning to become the world’s food reserve by 2045.