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Use Modern Technology, Local Wisdom to Boost Food Self-Sufficiency: Ex-Minister

Indonesia should take full advantage of both modern technology and local wisdom to boost food production, a former minister says.

Southeast Asia’s largest economy hopes to achieve food self-sufficiency in three years, but the plan has been hampered by a lack of modern agricultural equipment, among others.

“Don’t forget advanced technology, which is a key part of our efforts to increase productivity,” former trade and industry minister Mari Elka Pangestu said on Saturday (14/05).

The government has been providing farmers with a wide range of incentives since early last year as part of a food sustainability program. This includes free seeds and fertilizers.

Over the past two decades, Indonesia has been experiencing problems with food sustainability due to a sharp decline in the number of farmers and a loss of available farmland, forcing the archipelago to increasingly depend on food imports.

The government also seeks to revitalize infrastructure, such as dams, to irrigate an additional 1 million hectares of farmland.

However, these measures should accommodate traditional farming practices, in order to ensure greater sustainability, Mari said.

“Local wisdom could be an alternative means of ensuring sustainable food production. These long-held practices are proven to be environmentally friendly,” she said, referring to natural fertilizers, which are used by traditional farmers in Indonesia.

Source: The Jakarta Globe