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Ministry of Agriculture, UN Agency To Strengthen Collaboration

Indonesia’s Minister of Agriculture Amran Sulaiman met with Kundhavi Kadiresan, the assistant director general and regional representative for Asia and the Pacific at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, or FAO, on Sunday (12/03).

Indonesia hopes to enhance collaboration with the FAO in the coming years in a bid to stamp out hunger across the archipelago.

In a joint statement released on Monday, Kadiresan praised Indonesia’s efforts in reaching rice self-sufficiency in 2016 through the national UPSUS Program.

UPSUS was initiated by the Ministry of Agriculture and has since been implemented in 33 of the nation’s provinces. The program aims to increase the production of rice while cutting total yield losses by assisting local farmers in developing irrigation systems, providing transportation access and distributing materials such as seed, fertilizers and pesticides.

“FAO appreciates Indonesia’s achievements with respect to its rice production in 2016 as a result from major government aid. The Ministry of Agriculture has played a driving force in developing local infrastructure,” Kadiresan said.

“The next step is to build a competitive and diversified agricultural sector that promotes farmers’ livelihoods and improves nutritional health for all Indonesians,” she said.

With its stated goal of achieving zero hunger around the world, improving nutrition and accelerating agricultural growth, the UN has stipulated that member countries are expected to make all possible efforts to achieve food security and improve their respective agricultural sectors by 2030.

However, FAO said that it also recognizes that the goal poses a unique challenge for countries with higher average temperatures, frequent extreme weather conditions and water shortages — all of which affect agricultural productivity.

In the joint statement, Amran pointed out Indonesia’s notable progress in food security programs as the country managed to avoid imports of strategic commodities such as medium rice, fresh chili and shallots, while reducing maize imports by 66.6 percent.

Indonesia and FAO plan to collaborate further by incorporating responsible ecosystem approaches into Indonesia’s agriculture practices to increase food productivity, the statement said.

They also emphasized the importance of empowering farmers and encouraging a more efficient market for agricultural products. The latter is part of an effort to stabilize and reduce food prices in order to alleviate famine in some rural parts of the country.

Indonesia became a member of FAO in 1949 and first sent representatives to the organization in 1979. Indonesia has previously collaborated with FAO across food and agricultural sectors, including in fisheries and forestry. There are currently more than 650 FAO projects implemented throughout the country.

Source: The Jakarta Globe