Indonesia must work harder to stop food imports: Jokowi

President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo talks with Agriculture Minister Amran Sulaiman and Village, Disadvantaged Regions and Transmigration Minister Eko Putro Sandjojo on a field in Boyolali, Central Java.
PHOTO: The Jakarta Post

BOYOLALI, Central Java - President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has urged the people of Indonesia to work hard to overcome the country's need for food imports.

"Last year, we imported rice, soy beans, corn, fruits, sugar and many others," Jokowi said during a World Food Day event in Boyolali regency in Central Java on Saturday. World Food Day is observed every Oct. 16.

Jokowi said he was sure that if everyone worked hard to increase production, Indonesia would not need to import food anymore. He said Indonesia had fertile ground but was still importing food, which reflected mismanagement.

"We have to solve this problem. We are sure in the future Indonesia will reach self-sufficiency in food," he said.

He said he expected regions like East Nusa Tenggara, West Nusa Tenggara, Bima, Gorontalo, and East Java to increase food productivity.

He expressed his hope that Indonesia would not have to import corn by 2018 and said he wanted the country to expand its sugarcane field to end sugar imports.

The President said all countries were competing in the supply of food, water and energy, so Indonesia had to be prepared.

For water management, he said, Indonesia was building 49 dams all over the country and thousands of small reservoirs. He said he expected increased agricultural production following the completion of dams and reservoirs.