Govt told to control food imports

Senin, 13 Februari 2012 | 08:44

The government should control food imports which tend to increase due to the growing middle-class population in Indonesia, a spokesman said.The food imports mostly went to middle-and high-class population and only small part of them was distributed among the poor through subsidized rice for the poor (raskin) program, Secretary General of Indonesian Prosperous Farmers and Fishermen Association (PPNSI) Riyono said here on Sunday.

In the first semester of 2011 the value of food imports exceeded Rp45 trillion compared to less than Rp40 trillion in the same period the year before, he said.

Almost all types of farm commodities such as rice, red chili, onion, garlic, soybean, and cassava were imported while the commodities could be produced at home, he said.

The government appeared to maintain import policies without doing much or making breakthroughs to reduce the country`s dependence on imported foods, he said.

To reduce the country`s dependence on imported foods, the government could not merely overcome problems in the downstream sector but must begin to adopt policies which make food affairs top the list of national priorities.

"The government has placed food as optional rather than compulsory affairs as laid down in Government Regulation No. 38/2007. Article 1 point 4 of the government regulation stipulates that agriculture, fishery and forestry constitute optional and not compulsory affairs," he said.

The regulation reflected that the government was not serious about handling the agricultural and fishery sectors as a pillar of national food security, he said.  (*)