PT Hutama Karya collaborating with PT Wijaya Karya Tbk (IDX: WIKA), and PT Adipatria work on the Joko Widodo' food estate project in Kapuas, Central Kalimantan - Photo by President Office

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Toll road operator, PT Hutama Karya collaborating with PT Wijaya Karya Tbk (IDX: WIKA), and PT Adipatria work on the Joko Widodo’ food estate project in Kapuas, Central Kalimantan. The third parties prepared an investment of Rp738.04 billion (US$50 million) to run the project.

The development of this area is carried out through gradual rehabilitation and improvement of the irrigation network and the project is targeted for completion in January 2023. The director, Novias Nurendra, said, in this project, the company holds 37.5 percent ownership.

The food estate project is one of the various national strategic projects belonging to the public works and housing ministry, which are spread across several regions in Indonesia. After completion, there will be an area designated as a national food buffer across the archipelago.

According to the minister, Basuki Hadimuljono, the government aimed to develop rice plants in Central Kalimantan with an area of ​​165,000 hectares. The development had been started since September.

Beside, in Kalimantan, the government also build another food estate in Humbang Hasundutan in North Sumatra, Papua, East Nusa Tenggara, and South Sumatra provinces. President Joko Widodo has ordered defense minister, Prabowo Subianto, to lead the food estate projects.

To strengthen this program, he also asked the relevant ministers to formulate a master plan that can be completed immediately, both for irrigation covering an area of ​​148,000 hectares and non-irrigated land covering an area of ​​622,000 hectares for plant development cassava, rice and livestock.

The head of states also asked the supporting infrastructure, like roads to be prepared so that various modern agricultural tools would not have difficulty entering the field. He hope the food estate could produce up to 740,000 tons of rice in one time harvest or 1.48 million tons of rice per year.

The development of the food estates is expected to be completed in 2022 and to raises the rice and corn production, with an expected yield of two tons of rice per hectare. Even before the emergence of COVID-19, Indonesia’ food security has long been a source of concern due to the country’ reliance on staple food imports to meet domestic demand for commodities such as sugar, rice, corn, and beef.

Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the wide-ranging health and economic impacts of COVID-19 have put pressure on the already fragile system and thrust the issue of food security back into Indonesia’ political discourse. The virus crisis has aggravated Indonesia’ food security issues.

In late April, a month after the country’ first outbreak, Widodo reported that key commodities, such as garlic, sugar, chili, and chicken eggs, were in short supply in more than 20 provinces, while rice, a staple food for Indonesians, was lacking in seven provinces.

His identification and call to action on the issues of supply, distribution, and price indicates that the threat of a looming food shortage in Indonesia is very real. Even the issue has been his second term main economic program with vice president Ma’ruf Amin.

The World Food Program has estimated that the country experienced a decline in rice production of 13.2 percent year-on-year to 16.1 million tons in the first half of 2020. Statistics Indonesia data also showed that the country’ rice production had already fallen by 7.75 percent to 31.31 million tons in 2019, compared to 2018.

In the same year, the land area used to cultivate rice fell by 6.15 percent year-on-year to 10.68 million hectares. Annual production in Indonesia has been in decline since 2016, with a drop of 7.75 percent in 2018 – 2019 alone. In 2019, Indonesia’ domestic rice production reached 31.31 million tons, which only just outstripped demand of 29.6 million tons, requiring surplus stocks to be imported from Vietnam, India, and Myanmar.

While food imports have long provided Indonesia with a security net to help meet and buffer domestic demand, the COVID-19 pandemic has restricted access to this important lifeline through disruptions to international supply chains and distribution networks.

Moreover, several of Indonesia’ import supply markets, such as Vietnam and India, at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic placed restrictions on exports or hesitated to sign export contracts due to global distribution disruptions. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization recent report, the world stands on the brink of a food crisis worse than any seen for at least 50 years.

US$1: Rp14,700

Written by Editorial Staff, Email: theinsiderstories@gmail.com